Prestigious literature fellowship for Southampton academic

Toby Litt
Toby Litt

Novelist and lecturer Toby Litt, from the University of Southampton, has been elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

The fellowship recognises the most eminent writers working in the English language today.

Toby , Associate Professor and Head of Creative Writing at the university, said: "I am really pleased to receive this fellowship. It is a great recognition of the writing work I have done, but also my involvement in public events and activism as a member of Extinction Rebellion’s Writers Rebel. It is fantastic to be a part of something - the Royal Society of Literature - where everyone is on the side of literature."

He added: "I think the link between studying English and writing is being broken. If we want writers, then the subject of English - and that being something that universities do at the highest level - is critical. Now is an important time to be outward facing and proud about what literature is."

Known as ’Toby Literature’ at school, he has been publishing books since 1996. His first book was a collection of short stories called Adventures in Capitalism, and his most recent - his 17th - is called A Writer’s Diary. "It reads like my diary, but there are big and small things going on," explained Toby. "I wrote it during the year of lockdowns, so I had a chance to focus on the big and small things. As the tagline says, it’s about ’birth, death and commas’."

His other books include thrillers, a graphic novel written in collaboration with Neil Gaiman, and a memoir called Wrestliana, which tells the story of his ancestor William Litt, a Cumberland wrestler who was also a smuggler, a poet and a novelist.

Toby joined the University of Southampton earlier this year. He previously taught Creative Writing at the University of Westminster and at Birkbeck, University of London, and has been a Creative Writing Fellow at the University of East Anglia.