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Tessa Roynon

Research Fellow in English
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Tessa Roynon is a Research and Teaching Fellow at the Rothermere American Institute and a member of the English Faculty. She is a specialist in modern American literature, in Anglophone literature of the African diaspora, in Classical Reception studies, and in the interactions between all of these.  Her current book project examines the ways in which American novelists ranging from Willa Cather and William Faulkner to Ralph Ellison, Toni Cade Bambara and Jeffrey Eugenides engage ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman traditions in their representations of racial and/or ethnic politics and identities. She is also completing an article on the influence of Life magazine, in particular its ‘History of Western Culture’ series (1947-48), on the intellectual and political formation of Ralph Ellison during the 1940s.

Tessa completed her first degree at Clare College, Cambridge, her Master’s at Georgetown University, where she was a Fulbright Scholar, and her AHRC-funded doctorate (awarded in 2007) at the University of Warwick. She was a Research Fellow and Lecturer in English at St Peter’s College, Oxford from 2008 to 2014. Her first monograph, Toni Morrison and the Classical Tradition (OUP 2013) was included in the University of Oxford English Faculty’s REF submission (2014). She is also the author of The Cambridge Introduction to Toni Morrison (CUP 2012), contributing co-editor of the acclaimed interdisciplinary essay collection, African Athena: New Agendas (OUP 2011), and has published numerous articles and book chapters on Morrison. For a full list of her publications, click here:

Tessa’s current projects include, in collaboration with Warwick Classicist Daniel Orrells, the symposium and ensuing essay collection ‘Ovid and Postmodernism: Continuity and Change’:

She is co-writing an essay for this collection on the engagement with Ovid in Doctorow’s Ragtime and Eugenides’s Middlesex.

Tessa is a member of the Corpus Christi Centre for the Study of Greek and Roman Antiquity, and a steering group member of the TORCH research network, Race And Resistance Across Borders in the Long Twentieth Century (, for which she is also the blog editor. She is an editorial advisory board member the recently-founded book series, Race and Resistance Across Borders (Peter Lang) and of the International Journal of the Classical Tradition. She is a mentor in the Fulbright 1:1 Programme, in partnership with the Sutton Trust. She also leads a creative writing club at a local primary school; the club publishes an annual literary magazine, Write Away.

For details of Tessa’s undergraduate and postgraduate teaching in English and Classics see her faculty webpage: