Dr. Rebecca Roach

Rebecca Roach was a Postdoctoral Research Associate on this project until 2018. She is now Lecturer in Contemporary Literature at the University of Birmingham and a Visiting Researcher on the Ego Media project. Her research draws on theories of life writing, the public sphere, linguistics, information theory and history of the book/material culture to explore communication and collaboration in digital literature. In 2018 she published her first book, ‘Literature and the rise of the interview’ with Oxford University Press, and her article ‘J.M. Coetzee and aesthetic automatism’ appeared in ‘Modern Fiction Studies’ in 2019. She also co-edited (with Annaleen Masschelein) a special issue of Biography in 2017.

A further project on online identity in patients with epilepsy also explores these issues around identity, representation and narrative within the growing field of e-health. Research associated with this project appeared under the title ‘Epilepsy, digital technology and the black boxed self’ in the journal New Media and Society in 2018. She is also creating an ethnographic archive of online self-presentation.

Prior to joining Kings and the University of Birmingham, Rebecca completed her doctorate at Oxford University in March 2014. Her thesis, entitled “Transatlantic Conversations: The Art of the Interview in Britain and America” assesses the role of the interview form within Anglophone literature from the late nineteenth century to the present day. The project argues that the interview has been a key site for negotiating conceptions of authorship since its inauguration. Rebecca has been the recipient of numerous fellowships in Britain and America and has a publication forthcoming with ‘Textual Practice’.

Dr. Rebecca Roach's Projects

Talking Interfaces: Literature & Conversational Media

I examine how writers and literary critics have since mid century, drawn on conceptions of, and advances in, Cybernetics, programming, AI, language processing, and lately the area of Human Computer Interaction in their work.

The impact of new media on people with epilepsy

This project will study a group of patients with epilepsy, a chronic condition with profound social and biographical implications, and their use of social media and the digital environment more broadly.

Dr. Rebecca Roach's Blog posts


  PARTICIPATE! We are exploring the relationship between online activity and diary keeping. Would you like to participate in this research by contributing to our DiaryBox? DiaryBox – How do you document your life online – and how do you feel about doing it? – How have digital and social

Chatbots Talk: Science Museum Late, 28 Oct 2015

I’m giving at talk at the Science Museum Late on October 28th. Come learn about Chatbots and Margaret Masterman! Chattering Bots and Computer Poetry: Margaret Masterman and Computer Talk since 1955 Fifty years before Google Translate appeared on the market, a pioneering linguist was trumpeting the possibilities of Machine Translation.

Black Boxed Selves

In June Rob and I went to the annual Digital Humanities (DH) conference, held this year in Sydney. Not only did we have some fascinating discussions with people from around the globe at the DH New Scholars Seminar – on which more to follow – but along with Tom Apperley

Epilepsy Online: Interviews Commence

Over the last few weeks I have been travelling the country interviewing volunteers about their social media usage. At the moment I am talking to people who have epilepsy, a condition that affects around 1 in 100 people in the UK. The research is being undertaken in partnership with neurologist