Tom Sperlinger

Senior Teaching Fellow

Room: 1.12

Phone: 0117 954 6969


Office hours

I am normally in the office on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Research Interests

I have research interests in the nineteenth- and twentieth- century novel, poetry and story, and adult education. I am particularly interested in the work of George Eliot and Doris Lessing. I have published articles and review-essays in a wide variety of journals, on pedagogic issues as well as literary ones. I have also written about literature, adult education and higher education policy for a wide variety of national and local media.


I have taught at pre-undergraduate, undergraduate and MA level. On the BA English Literature and Community Engagement, I am currently teaching a new unit on nineteenth-century prose and I have taught units on critical thought and theory and various units on the theory and practice of community engagement (as it relates to literary study). I have also taught on a variety of shorter part-time courses, including the Reading English Literature course and at external venues such as the Single Parent Action Network. On the BA English, I am developing a new unit on 'Dangerous Books' and I have been a tutor on the units Approaches to Poetry, Critical Issues and Literature IV (1850-1950).

With Richard Pettigrew, I designed a new Foundation Year in the Arts and Humanities, which provides an access route into all undergraduate programmes in the Faculty; this courses launches in September 2013. I also designed the part-time BA in English Literature and Community Engagement, which has been running since 2008. I have a particular interest in developing short courses that facilitate progression at undergraduate and postgraduate level and/or that are designed to involve individuals and communities with limited prior experience of higher education. I have developed collaborative courses with external organisations including the Black Development Agency and the Eden House Project. From 2006 to 2009 I had similar responsibilities for a diverse programme of short courses in Classics, Historical Studies and Theology.

I have been at Bristol since 2004; before that, I taught on an Access course for Liverpool Hope University and in the Continuing Education Department at Liverpool University and I was reader-in-residence at Tate Liverpool (all in 2002-3).


Chapter in e-book:


Other publications:

I have published as a journalist in a variety of contexts. I contribute regularly to The Guardian and the Huffington Post on topics related to literature and adult education. I have also written for Left Foot Forward and contributed to a blog on education for Compass. I have published a comment piece on adult education in the Times Higher and interviews with A.B. Yehoshua and Doris Lessing in The Reader. I have reviewed fiction and literary criticism for the Independent on Sunday and The Times Literary Supplement.


Other activities

I am a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts. With Penelope Price and Hannah Sheppard, I am co-editor of The Brodie Press, a poetry publisher. I have been external panel member for a course review of Continuing Education programmes at the University of East Anglia (UEA) and external assessor for an online creative writing course at the University of Oxford.