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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Katie Unwin

Katie Unwin

Name: Katie Unwin

College: Hughes Hall


Supervisor: Professor Sarah Colvin

Research Topic: Animal narratives in contemporary German and comparative fiction, writing the 21st century through an animal perspectival lens, ethics of writing animal stories, advocacy and epistemic violence.


About: Born in Sheffield, living in Cambridge, educated across the UK and Germany. Katie is a first year PhD candidate who is a comparatist at heart and enjoys puzzling over questions of the 21st century as explored in the literary imagination.


Research: Katie’s current research concerns itself with thought experiments in empathy in German and comparative literature and film. Specifically, she is looking at fictionalised animal perspectives from whales to porcupines and exploring their critical potential for peculiarities of the present including climate change, overpopulation and gentrification. Her other research interests include picaresque fiction on which she wrote her master’s thesis, tellings and translations of Jaroslav Hašek’s The Good Soldier Švejk, climate fiction and literary geographies.


Scholarships and Awards:

Elizabeth Cherry scholarship for PhD, with preference for the Arts - Hughes Hall, Cambridge (2023)

MA scholarship for German and Comparative Literature - University of St Andrews, St Andrews (2019 - 2020)


Teaching: TBD


Conference papers: 

  • Brecht, Weiss, NS Zeit, Cambridge Undergraduate Conference in German Studies, Cambridge 2017
  • Bright-Eyed and Bushy-Tailed? Squirrely Perspectives in Ecocriticism in Ulla Hahn’s Tage in Vitopia - 20th Annual German Graduate Symposium - Movement and Moment, Oxford, 2023.
  • Pest Perspectives: Rodents as 'Revelatory Reflectors' in Contemporary German and Comparative Literature - Sheffield Animal Studies Research Council - ShARC Tales, Sheffield, 2023.
  • Speaking for the Speechless: Animal Focalisation as an Authorial Tool in Contemporary Fiction - LMU-Princeton Summer Semester, Challenging Authorship - Hidden Networks of the Creative Process, Munich, 2023.



Co-organiser - Pedagogy Exchange: Teaching Postmigrant Reconfigurations for Postmigrant Reconfigurations: New Approaches to Contemporary German-language Jewish Cultural Production, Institute of Languages, Cultures and Societies, School of Advanced Study, University of London, 2023.


Other activities and roles:

Organising committee - National Postgraduate Colloquium in German Studies

Co-contributor - Towards an Equitable German Studies collective and its online, open-access bibliography.

Consultant translator - project TBA.

Please feel free to email Katie any time at for any collaborations or just to swap ideas.