Degrees: PhD, MA, MSc (University of Toronto); BA (Concordia); BSc (Trent)

Teaching interests: Narrative; graduate writing; modern & contemporary literature; modernism; poetry and poetics; British literature, 1700-present; Irish literature; creative writing; science & literature.

Research interests: Modern & contemporary fiction; literature & science; narrative theory; genre; unnatural narratology; experimental nonfiction; narrative and science; adaptation theory; genetics & Darwinism; science communication and outreach.

Current position:

  • Assistant Professor (Teaching Stream), Department of English, University of Toronto (2020 – )
  • Director of Graduate Writing Support, Faculty of Arts & Science, University of Toronto (2019 – )
  • Affiliate Faculty, School of the Environment, University of Toronto (2022 -)

Past employment:

  • Assistant Professor (CLTA), Teaching Stream, Faculty of Arts and Science, University of Toronto (2019-2020)
  • Assistant Professor (CLTA), Teaching Stream, Graduate Centre for Academic Communication, University of Toronto (2018)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Department of English, McGill University (2016-2017)
  • Assistant Professor (CLTA), English Department, Concordia University (2014-2015)

Past affiliations:

Selected Awards and Distinctions

Dean’s Excellence Award, Department of English, University of Toronto (2022)

Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Insight Development Grant for “A Narratology of Science: Exploring Narrative in Scientific Writing and Diagrams.” Value: $53,372. (2021 – 2023)

Institute of Medical Science (IMS) Module Director Award. (2017)

SSHRC Post-Doctoral Fellowship, held at McGill University. Value: $81,000. (2016-2017)

Viola Whitney Pratt Memorial OSOTF Scholarship, University of Toronto. Value: $4,250. (2013)

SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship (PhD). Value: $105,000. (2008-2011)

Avie Bennett Entrance Scholarship, University of Toronto. Value: $10,000. (2008)

Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council of Canada Graduate Scholarship (Master’s). Value:$17,500. (2002)

Ontario Graduate Scholarship. Value: $15,000. (2001, accepted; 2002, declined)



Modernist Life Histories: Biological Theory and the Experimental Bildungsroman (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2019). [reviewed here and here]

As Editor

“Narratologies of Science,” special issue of JNT: Journal of Narrative Theory 53.1 (2023).

Peer-reviewed articles and chapters

“Comparative Literature and Science, in the Abyss: (Meta)Fiction and Benthic Biology in Woolf, Gide, Huxley, and Brossard,” invited contribution for CompLit: Journal of European Literature, Arts and Society, 2023 (forthcoming).

“Grappling with the Unnarratable: Introduction to Special Issue on Narratologies of Science.” JNT: Journal of Narrative Theory 53.1 (2023): 1-11.

“Limits of Narrative Science: Unnarratability and Neonarrative in Evolutionary Biology.” Partial Answers 20.2 (2022): 231-51.

“Beyond the Search Image: Reading as (Re)Search.” Modernism, Theory and Responsible Reading, ed. Stephen Ross, pp. 93-109. Bloomsbury, 2021.

“From ‘Flowery Expression’ to Floral Motif: Adapting Discordant Narration in Sarah Polley’s Away from Her.” Ekphrasis: Images, Cinema, Theory, Media 22.3 (2019): 54-72.

Narrative: Common Ground in Literature and Science Studies?Configurations 26.3 (2018): 277-82, special joint issue with Journal of Literature and Science on “The State of the Unions II”

Your Body Is Our Black Box: Narrating Nations in Second-Person Fiction by Edna O’Brien and Jennifer Egan.” Frontiers of Narrative Studies 5.1 (2018): 42-65, special issue on Narrative Theory and Experimental Fiction, ed. Brian Richardson.

Nabokov’s Gradual and Dual Blues: Unreliability, Taxonomy, and Ethics in Lolita.” Journal of Narrative Theory 48.1 (2018): 54-84.

Terms of Art in Law and Herbals.” Shakespeare’s Language in Digital Media: Old Words, New Tools. Edited by Jennifer Roberts-Smith, Mark Kaethler & Janelle Jenstad 47-65.  New York: Routledge, 2018.

“Plot Counter Plot: Genetics and Generic Strain in the Modernist Novel of Formation.” Intervalla: Platform for Intellectual Exchange 4 (2016): 30-69.

“‘Education of an Amphibian’: Anachrony, Neoteny and Bildung in Aldous Huxley’s Eyeless in Gaza.” Twentieth Century Literature  62.4 (2016): 403-28.

Heredity, Kin Selection and the Fate of Characters in E.M. Forster’s The Longest Journey.” Fact and Fiction: Literature and Science in the German and European Context. Edited by Christine Lehleiter, 247-71. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 2016.

A Source for ‘The Most Profound Sentence’ in A Portrait of the Artist.” James Joyce Quarterly 52.1 (2014): 165-68.

Flaubertian Aesthetics, Modernist Ethics and Animal Representation in Hemingway’s Green Hills of Africa.” Style 47.4 (Winter 2013): 509-24.

Burkle, L.A., R.E. Irwin, & D.A. Newman. “Predicting the Effects of Nectar Robbing on Plant Reproduction: Implications of Pollen Limitation and Plant Mating System.” American Journal of Botany 94 (2007): 1935–43.

Newman, D.A. & J.D. Thomson. “Interactions among Nectar Robbing, Floral Herbivory, and Ant Protection in Linaria vulgaris.” Oikos 110 (2005): 497–506.

Newman, D.A. & J.D. Thomson. “Effects of Nectar Robbing on Nectar Dynamics and Bumblebee Foraging Strategies in Linaria vulgaris.” Oikos 110 (2005): 309–20.

Essays, reviews and creative writing

Response to Masami Sugimori’s ‘Weak Theory, “Responsible” Reading, and Literary Criticism” Bloomsbury Literary Studies Blog (12 Jan. 2022).  

Review of Midcentury Suspension: Literature and Feeling in the Wake of WWII, by Claire Seiler, Twentieth Century Literature 67.3 (2021): 345-51.

“Concrete is everywhere. It’s also terrible for the planet.” A Review of Mary Soderstrom’s Concrete: From Ancient Origins to a Problematic Future. (23 Nov. 2020).

Review of Animal Subjects: Literature, Zoology, and British Modernism, by Caroline Hovanec, Twentieth Century Literature 66.2 (2020): 265-72.

The Imperilled Ocean Makes Climate Change all about Us.” A Review of Laura Tretheway’s The Imperilled Ocean: Human Stories from a Changing Sea. (27 Feb. 2020).

“Portrait of the Invisible Artist: A Review of Rachel Cusk’s Transit.” Toronto Review of Books (May 2018).

“Everything New Is Old Again: A Review of Guillaume Morissette’s The Original Face.” The Puritan 40 (2018).

Review of The Cambridge Companion to Irish Modernism, ed. Joe Cleary, Canadian Journal of Irish Studies 39.2 (2016): 276-9.

“Bumble Bees Have Turned to Goldenrod.” The Fiddlehead 245 (2011): 72–3 (poem).

“Gravity.” Existere 29.2 (2010): 65–9 (story).

“The Coolidge Effect in Gallus gallus: Implications for Human Demography.” The Future Hygienic (Toronto: PistolPress, 2009): 27–41 (story, briefly noted here).

“Multiples of Three.” Prairie Fire 29.4 (2009): 80–81 (poem).

“Puccinia monoica.” The Dalhousie Review 88.3 (2008): 380–81 (poem).

“Kate Comes to Bed,” “On Spotting Orchids.” Wascana Review 41.1–2 (2008): 87–89 (poems).

“Death of a Train.” Misunderstandings 10 (2008): 29 (poem).

“The Hawk” & “You and I Are the Lucky Ones (after Richard Dawkins).” The Antigonish Review 39.154 (2008): 118–21 (poems).

“Laughing in the Darkness.” Soliloquies 11.2 (2008): 82–99 (essay on being funny in literature, and the deplorable lack of fun and funniness in creative writing workshops).

“Iris versicolor.” Contemporary Verse 2 30.1 (2007): 86 (poem).

“Re-cognition.” Vallum: Contemporary Poetry 4.2/5.1 (2007): 25 (poem).

“Experiential Learning in Wilderness Canoe Tripping.” Green Horizon Quarterly (now Green Horizon Magazine) 25 (2004): 6–7 (essay).

Teaching (literature) (for Teaching related to academic writing, go to Writing Support)

Graduate courses

ENG6014H–Adapting Short Fiction, University of Toronto. Winter 2023.

ENG6015H–Experimental Narrative and/as Narrative Theory, University of Toronto. Summer 2020 (forthcoming a second time in Summer 2022)

Undergraduate courses

ENG329–Contemporary British Fiction (focus on Fiction post-Brexit Vote), University of Toronto. Summer 2021.

ENGL2807–Modern Fiction, Trent University (Oshawa). Fall 2018.

ENGL1851–The Creative Writing Life, Trent University (Oshawa). Winter 2018.

ENGL 341–Modern Fiction, Concordia University. Summer 2015, Fall 2014.

ENGL 349–Modern Poetry in English, Concordia University. Winter 2015.

ENGL 246–Science Fiction, Concordia University. Winter 2015.

ENGL 262–British Literature from 1660 to 1900, Concordia University. Fall 2014, Winter 2015.

ENGL 345–Modern Drama, Concordia University. Fall 2014.

ENGC56H3F–Literature and Media: From Page to Screen (University of Toronto Scarborough). Fall 2013. Click here for the course blog.

ENG110Y–Narrative (University of Toronto). Summer 2013. Click here for the course blog.

ENG328Y–Modern Fiction to 1960 (University of Toronto). Fall 2012/Winter 2013.

ENGL3B04–Science and Technology in Literature (OCAD University). Summer 2012.

Conference presentations and seminars

“Storification, Financialization, Obfuscation: Worrying Trends in the Science Storytelling Business.” Modern Language Association convention, San Francisco, CA, 7 Jan. 2023 (upcoming).

With Rachael Cayley and Fiona Coll. “Exploring Participation in Highly Social Forms of Graduate Writing Support.” Consortium on Graduate Communication Summer Institution (virtual), 16 Jun. 2022.

“Telling Events: Narraction by Passive Protagonists.” International Society for the Study of Narrative, Chichester, UK, June 2022.

“Just the First Few Words: Pragmatic Sentence-Level Revisions for Graduate Research Writers.” Writing Professional Development Day, University of Toronto (virtual), 27, Apr. 2022.

“Bringing Communication Role Models to Graduate Student.” Consortium on Graduate Communication Summer Institution (virtual), 17 Jun. 2021.

“Using Diagrams to Teach Narratological Concepts.” Modern Language Association convention (virtual), Jan. 10, 2021.

“The Average Guise: Unnatural Characters in Scientific Diagrams of Evolutionary Change.” International Conference on Narrative, Montreal, QC, Apr. 20, 2018.

“‘A Usually Valid Generalization’: Character and Storytelling in Evolutionary Biology.” Postdoc and Advanced PhD Colloquium, Department of English, Oct. 2017, McGill University, Montreal, QC.

“Narrating Bodies in the Unnatural You.” Postdoc and Advanced PhD Colloquium, Department of English, Oct. 2016, McGill University, Montreal, QC.

“Reading Contemporary Fiction: Ali Smith’s How to Be Both.” Seminar. Society for Novel Studies conference, May 2016, Pittsburgh, PA.

“‘Your body was crammed with incidents’: Second-Person Narration and Irish Female Sexuality in Edna O’Brien’s A Pagan Place.” Modernist Studies Association conference, Nov. 2014, Pittsburgh, PA.

“Narration as Collapsing Wave: Quantum Superposition and Shadow World in David Lodge’s Thinks….”International Conference on Narrative, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, March 2014, Cambridge, MA.

“‘In preference to being interrupted’: Beckett’s Darwinian Chronotope.” Samuel Beckett: Form and History, conference organized by St. Mary’s and St. Francis Xavier Universities, June 2013, Halifax, NS.

“Worlds within Worlds: Deep-Sea Exploration and Narratological Experiments in André Gide and Aldous Huxley.” Modernist Studies Association conference, Oct. 2012, Las Vegas, NV.

“Relocking the Closet Door: Queer Theory versus the Text of Pale Fire.” Vladimir Nabokov Society at the Modern Language Association Convention, Jan. 2012, Seattle, WA.

“Genealogy, Kin Selection, and the Fate of Characters in E.M. Forster’s The Longest Journey.Fourth Annual Toronto German Studies Symposium Fact and Fiction: Literature and Science in the German and European Context, University of Toronto, Apr. 2011, Toronto, ON.

“Stylistic Shifts in Aldous Huxley’s Time Must Have a Stop: Speculations on Supernatural Realism in Modernist Fiction.” Seminar. Modernist Studies Association, Oct. 2011, Buffalo NY.

“Selfish Genes, Uncertain Paternity, and the Triumph of Comedy in Zadie Smith’s White Teeth.” Society for Literature, Science and Art conference, Sept. 2011, Kitchener, ON.

“Ecological Networks as Modernist Form: A Heuristic Tool for Making Ulysses more Friendly to First-Time Readers.” Seminar. Modernist Studies Association conference, Nov. 2010, Victoria, BC.

“Writing Animals Right: Flaubertian Aesthetics and Narrative Ethics in Hemingway’s Green Hills of Africa.” Society for Literature, Science and Art conference, Oct. 2010, Indianapolis, IN.

“The Rhetoric of Probability: How Darwin Overcame the Argument from Design.” “Origin of Species at 150: A Celebratory Conference,” Victoria University College, Nov. 2009, Toronto, ON.

“The Averaged Individual: Statistical Individuals in Darwinian Theory and Gertrude Stein’s The Making of Americans.” Cornell Theory Reading Group conference, Apr. 2009, Ithaca, NY.

“Counterintuitive Fitness Effects of Nectar Robbing in Linaria vulgaris.” Ontario Ethology and Ecology Colloquium, University of Toronto Mississauga, May 2004, Toronto, ON.

Conference panels & seminars (as organizer or co-organizer)

“Narration as Action.” Panel. International Society for the Study of Narrative conference, Chichester UK/virtual, 28 Jun. 2022. Co-organizer, with Angela Du.

“Visualizing Narratives: Techniques for Interpretation and Pedagogy.” Panel. Modern Language Association convention (held virtually). Toronto, ON, Jan. 10, 2021. Organizer.

“Experimental Narrative in Nonfiction.” Panel. International Society for the Study of Narrative conference, Montreal, QC, Apr. 20, 2018. Organizer.

“Making It Novel: Reinventing Britain & Contemporary British Fiction.” Panel. Association of Canadian College & University Teachers of English, Toronto, ON, 30 May 2017. Co-organizer, with Dr. Cynthia Quarrie.

“Rethinking Character Development in Modernist Life Narratives.” (Seminar.) Modernist Studies Association, Nov. 2015, Boston, MA. Co-organizer, with Claire Battershill.

“Sex and Reproduction in Irish Modernism.”Modernist Studies Association conference. Nov. 2014, Pittsburgh, PA. Organizer.

“Spectacular Lifeforms, Spectacular Artforms: Modernist Biology, Modernist Narrative.” Modernist Studies Association conference, Oct. 2012, Las Vegas, NV. Organizer.

Invited lectures

“Twinheritance? Genetic and Generic Comedy in Zadie Smith’s White Teeth.” Département d’anglais, Université de Moncton, March 2020.

“Fiction as Enquiry: Plotting Genes in Zadie Smith’s White Teeth.” Department of English, Univ. of Lethbridge, December 2019.

“Interdisciplinarity, Actually: The Case for Narrative and Science,” Keynote Speech, Interdisciplinary Graduate Research & Discovery conference, University of Toronto Scarborough, April 2019.

“How Narrative Theory Can Help Science Communication: The Case of Character in Evolutionary Biology.” Department of English, Univ. of Waterloo, March 2018.

“Your Body Is Our Black Box: Narrating Nations and the Lives of Girls and Women.” School of Humanities, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, March 2017.

“Using Narrative in Medical Communications.” MSC 1003: Rhetoric of Science, Translational Research Program, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Nov. 2016.

“Secular and Sacred and the Structure of Jim Crace’s Being Dead.” Guest lecture for ENGL 335: 20th-Century Fiction: British Fiction, McGill University, Apr. 2016.

“‘Fragments in a Limitless Mosaic’: Genetics and the Characters of Zadie Smith’s White Teeth.” Department of English, Univ. of New Brunswick, March 2016.

“‘What Birds Were They?’: Joyce’s Lapwing Enigma.” Panel on “Deciphering ‘Enigmas and Puzzles,’” public lecture for the Bloomsday Montreal festival, June 2015.

“The Novel as Thought Experiment: Quantum Decoherence and Narrative Causality in David Lodge’s Thinks…” Presentation for Travaux Sur l’Art du Roman (TSAR), McGill University, Jan. 2015.

“Sylvia Plath’s Ariel.” Guest lecture for ENGL 234: Poetry, Concordia U., Feb. 2015.

Monkey Beach as a First Nations Bildungsroman.” Guest lecture for ENG 140: Literature for Our Time, University of Toronto, Mar. 2014.

“Revising and Editing Your Own Work and the Work of Others.” Guest lecture for the first-year writing course LBST1B11: The Essay and the Argument: Mechanics. Instructor: Claire Battershill. OCAD University, Nov. 2012.

“Darwinian Experiments: Turning Evolutionary Theory into Literary Innovation.” Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto, Apr. 2012.

“Literary Critics among the Biologists: The Case of Robert Frost’s ‘Design.’”Workshops for Inter-Discipline Exchange and Novelty (WIDEN). Massey College, Mar. 2012.

“Paddling the Keele River.” Guest lecture for the continuing education course “The Canoe and Canoeing in Canadian Cultures.” Instructor: Bruce Hodgins. Trent University, Spring 2005.

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