Susan Sellers - Life


Sellers gained her PhD from the University of London in 1992, having previously received a Diplôme d'Etudes Approfondies from the University of Paris (Sorbonne). While in Paris, Sellers became involved with leading French feminist writers, and has written on their work (see, for example, "Language and Sexual Difference" ). She has worked especially closely with Hélène Cixous, and has been influential in introducing her work to the English-speaking world, in books such as "The Hélène Cixous Reader" (Routledge, 1994), "Hélène Cixous: Authorship, Autobiography and Love" (Polity and Blackwell, 1996), "Hélène Cixous: Live Theory (with Ian Blyth, Continuum, 2004), and in translations such "Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing" (with Sarah Cornell, Columbia University Press, 1993) and "Coming to Writing and Other Essays" (with Sarah Cornell, Deborah Jenson and Ann Liddle, Harvard University Press, 1991).

Sellers' work has been oriented towards women's writing. Her "Myth and Fairy Tale in Contemporary Women's Fiction" (Palgrave, 2001) is an investigation into the ongoing resonance of myth and fairy tale for contemporary women's fiction, drawing on material by Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Bruno Bettelheim, Roland Barthes, Jack Zipes and Marina Warner, as well as French feminists Hélène Cixous, Luce Irigaray and Julia Kristeva, to read works by such writers as A. S. Byatt, Angela Carter, Anne Rice, Michèle Roberts, Emma Tennant and Fay Weldon. Sellers has also written on and edited a number of collections concerned with feminist theory and criticism, including "A History of Feminist Literary Criticism" (with Gill Plain, Cambridge University Press, 2007) and "Feminist Criticism: Theory and Practice" (Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1991).

Sellers' interest in the writings of Virginia Woolf has led to her involvement in the Cambridge University Press edition of Woolf's writings, which she co-directs with Jane Goldman. Goldman and Sellers received a major Arts and Humanities Research Council Award in 2005 for this project. The edition aims for transparency in its mapping of the variants between the first British edition of Woolf's texts and those she subsequently oversaw – in particular the first American publication. It also aims to provide full annotation to Woolf's densely allusive prose. In addition to co-directing the project, Sellers also co-edited Virginia Woolf's "The Waves" (with Michael Herbert). With Sue Roe, Sellers co-edited and contributed to "The Cambridge Companion to Virginia Woolf" (Cambridge University Press, 2000), which included contributions by David Bradshaw, Julia Briggs, Susan Dick, Hermione Lee, Laura Marcus, Andrew McNeillie, Suzanne Raitt and Michael Whitworth. Sellers edited the second edition of “The Cambridge Companion to Virginia Woolf” in 2010. Sellers' novel, 'Vanessa and Virginia", is in part a fictional biography of Virginia Woolf.

Throughout, Sellers has been particularly interested in the creative process of writing, and this is reflected in three collections "Instead of Full Stops" (The Women’s Press, 1996), "Taking Reality by Surprise" (The Women's Press, 1991), and "Delighting the Heart: A Notebook by Women Writers" (The Women's Press, 1988), as well as in the translated selections from "The Writing Notebooks of Hélène Cixous" ( Continuum, 2004). For this latter project, Sellers was awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship in 2001–2002, which she held as a Visiting Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.

Sellers now combines her academic research with work as a novelist. In 2002 she won the Canongate Prize for short story writing and in 2007 received a New Writing Partnership Arts Council award for her novel Vanessa and Virginia. She is a member of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge.

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