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Our People

Dr Anna Beer

Fellow, Visiting Fellow

Senior Course Tutor for the MSt in Creative Writing

Faculty of English

MA (Oxon), MA, PhD (Reading)

Anna Beer is a cross-disciplinary author and researcher, working in the fields of literature, history and, most recently, music and creative writing. She is on the Advisory Board of the Kellogg College Centre for Creative Writing which complements, but is distinct from, the MSt in Creative Writing.

Between 2003 and 2010, she was University Lecturer in Literature at the Department for Continuing Education. Involved in many aspects of adult learning, she was one of the Directors of the Foundation Certificate in English Language and Literature (a part-time course equivalent to the first year of Oxford’s undergraduate English degree). Between 2013 and 2020, Anna has taught for the MSt in Creative Writing, with stints as Director and as Senior Course Tutor.

Alongside her teaching for Continuing Education, Anna was closely engaged with the M.St. in Women’s Studies, as graduate supervisor and tutor, and as Chair (2007-09). She was appointed a Fulbright Distinguished Scholar (2009-2010) taking up a fellowship at the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies in January 2010.

Anna, currently a Visiting Fellow, was elected to the Governing Body of Kellogg College in 2003 and has held the posts of Chamberlain 2005-09; Joint Dean of Degrees 2005-07; Joint Secretary to Governing Body 2006-08. She is currently Chamberlain.

Anna Beer is committed to public scholarship. She is the author of five biographies, written for non-specialists, but drawing on the latest research in the field. Bess: The Life of Lady Ralegh, Wife to Sir Walter, the first biography of this important early-modern figure, was published early in 2004 by Constable. In 2008 John Milton: Poet, Pamphleteer and Patriot (Bloomsbury) appeared, followed by Sounds and Sweet Airs: the Forgotten Women of Classical Music (Oneworld Publications) in 2016, a book which has attracted extensive media coverage on television and radio, including a BBC Four documentary (June 2018) and two series commissioned by Classic FM based on the book. Sounds and Sweet Airs was runner-up for the Royal Philharmonic Society Creative Communications award in 2017. Anna continues to work with musicians to ensure that this neglected musical tradition is heard. For the anniversary of his death, in October 2018, Anna returned to her academic roots – Patriot or Traitor: the Life and Death of Sir Walter Ralegh was published on 4 October. In 2018 she was asked to write a life of William Shakespeare as one of the launch volumes for a new series ‘The Life of the Author’ (Wiley Blackwell). This should appear in 2020. She is just starting a major new study, scheduled to be completed late in 2021.

Academic and educational publications include a re-assessment of Sir Walter Ralegh’s poetry (Literary Ralegh, Manchester University Press, 2013); an articleon the gendering of commercial biography (in Lifewriting, 2012), republished in the Blackwell Companion to Literary Biography (2018)and study guides on Andrew Marvell’s poetry, Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II, Wycherley’s The Country Wife and Shakespeare’s Hamlet (all for Oxford University Press).