Professor Alison Light

Senior Research Fellow

Professor Alison Light is a fulltime writer, affiliated as Research Fellow to the Oxford Centre for Research in the Humanities (TORCH).   She is also an Honorary Professor in the Department of English at University College, London and an Honorary Professorial Fellow in the Department of English at Edinburgh University. 

Her most recent book, Common People: the History of an English Family(Penguin 2014; Chicago University Press 2015) was shortlisted for the 2014 Samuel Johnson Prize in Nonfiction.  A mix of social history, memoir and reflection, it used her own family history to explore the story of the itinerant working poor.  Professor Light writes chiefly on issues to do with British cultural life and history, the subject of both Forever England: Literature, Femininity and Conservatism between the Wars (Routledge 1991) and Mrs Woolf and the Servants (Penguin 2007 and Bloomsbury USA 2009).  As the widow of the historian, Raphael Samuel, she spent several years helping to establish a History Centre and Archive in his name in London and edited two volumes of Samuel’s essays: Island Stories: Unravelling Britain (Verso 1997) and The Lost World of British Communism (Verso 2006).