The Novel in the 21st-Century

The Novel in the 21st-Century: Reading the Contemporary Book Market

Degree type


Closing date

27 March 2023



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

In Everything and Less: The Novel in the Age of Amazon, Mark McGurl writes that the "rise of Amazon is the most significant novelty in recent literary history, representing an attempt to reforge contemporary literary life as an adjunct to online retail." Many readers are now positioning themselves publicly as 'literary' by reviewing novels online, and participating passionately in bookish social media, often through avenues that are affiliated with writers, publishers or booksellers.

The Novel in the 21st Century invites projects that examine the relationship between the literary features of contemporary novels and the social and/or material practices that support their production and reception. How do novelists depict contemporary literary culture or respond to it through literary techniques? How do readers signal their allegiances to specific kinds of books, genres, or writers? What is the place of 'literature' in a complex, global book market increasingly mediated by large technology companies like Facebook, Amazon, and Google? What is the purpose of the novel today and how do contemporary novels address this question?

This project might consider such aspects of the contemporary literary ecosystem as publishing, bookselling, reading, reviewing, or online literary culture. Applications that combine close or comparative literary analysis with sociological or quantitative methods are strongly encouraged.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Prof Lisa Fletcher


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $31,500 per annum (2023 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.


Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • First-class Honours in English
  • Applicants must be able to undertake the project on-campus

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select your project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Prof Lisa Fletcher to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. Submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application, you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including 2 x referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

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