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Image of Photograph of Preti Taneja
Photo: Ben Gold

Dr Preti Taneja

Fellow Commoner

Preti Taneja's novel We That Are Young (Galley Beggar Press) won the 2018 Desmond Elliot Prize for the UK's best debut of the year, and was listed for awards including the Folio Prize, the Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small Presses, and Europe’s premier award for a work of world literature, the Prix Jan Michalski.

It has been translated into several languages and is published in the USA by AA Knopf. She leads the College's Writing Together programme, taking students to study Creative Writing alongside incarcerated men at HMP Whitemoor.

Academic interests

Preti Taneja's academic interests include:

  • Shakespeare - colonial and postcolonial, contemporary adaption, and appropriation
  • Colonial and Postcolonial literature and literature in translation including Tagore, Manto
  • Contemporary Indian writing in English
  • African Literature, including J.M. Coetzee, Galgut, Ngugi
  • Modernist and contemporary literature including post 9/11 fiction and representations of Islam in fiction and poetry
  • Feminist writing and theory
  • Poetry in English and in translation
  • Creative Writing and Critical Practice.

Degrees obtained

  • PhD in English Literature and Creative Writing, Royal Holloway, University of London.
  • MA in Creative Writing, Royal Holloway, University of London.
  • PgDip in Print Journalism, City University, London.
  • BA in Theology and Religious Studies, St John’s College Cambridge.

Awards and prizes

  • The Desmond Elliot Prize 2018.
  • The Eastern Eye ACTA award for Literature 2019.
  • Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellowship 2017-2020, Warwick University.
  • BBC and Arts Humanities Research Council (AHRC) New Generation Thinkers Award 2014.
  • Reid Scholarship, Royal Holloway, University of London, equivalent to full AHRC funding for duration of PhD.
  • Lionel Butler Travel Bursary, Royal Holloway, University of London, awarded for outstanding MA field research to the Wagah Border and Amritsar.
  • Scott Trust Bursary, one of four annual scholarships to attend City University awarded by the governing trust of the Guardian Media Group.


Preti completed her undergraduate degree in Theology at St John's College, Cambridge. She was editor of Varsity during this time.

For over a decade she traveled and reported extensively on the plight of minorities worldwide for NGOs and international media, focusing particularly on Iraq.

As well as holding the position of Fellow Commoner at Jesus College, she is a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow at Warwick University, working in the Department of English and Comparative Literature and the Centre for Human Rights in Practice.

In 2019 she was the UNESCO Fellow in Prose Fiction at the University of East Anglia.

Other interests

  • International development.
  • Gender and development.
  • Minority rights, particularly Iraq.
  • Documentary and fiction film making.
  • Editing the poetry anthology Visual Verse.

Department link

Publications, links and resources

For films, publications, and resources, see

Hear from students


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