Dr Kathryn Napier Gray

Dr Kathryn Napier Gray

Associate Professor (Reader) in Early American Literature

School of Humanities and Performing Arts (Faculty of Arts and Humanities)


As well as teaching option modules in American literature, I also lead the undergraduate work-based learning module. In addition, I'm the research coordinator for the English and Creative Writing team.


I completed my undergraduate and post-graduate degrees at the University of Glasgow. I moved to Plymouth after completing my PhD in 2004.

MA(Hons), MPhil, PhD (University of Glasgow) 

Professional membership

I'm a member of the British Association for American Studies, the Society for Early Americanists and the Transatlantic Studies Association.

Teaching interests

Undergraduate teaching
My core teaching interests are in American literature, and my two option modules, The American Novel and American Crime Writing, are part of the undergraduate English and Creative Writing programmes. In these modules students read some classic American texts, from Nathaniel Hawthorne and F.Scott Fitzgerald in American Novel, to writers like Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler and James Ellroy in American Crime. 

I also lead the work-based learning module, Working with Literature, which gives students the opportunity to complete a placement as part of their undergraduate programme. The module also help students articulate their subject-specific and transferable skills to a potential graduate employer. 

Graduate teaching
Over the past few years I have contributed to the MA programme with a module called The British Atlantic, an interdisciplinary module looking at the literatures of the Atlantic world in the eighteenth century.

I regularly supervise masters dissertation projects, and I also supervise PhD projects. At the moment, one student is working on Golden Age crime fiction and another is working on a creative writing project, focusing on colonial and contemporary interactions between Western and Native American cultures. 

Research interests

I completed my PhD at the University of Glasgow, and my first monograph, John Eliot and the Praying Indians of Massachusetts Bay,was published by Bucknell University Press in 2013. My research interests focus on 17th and 18th century transatlantic literature and culture and my next book-length study, Transatlantic Travel, will be an examination of natural historical texts and transatlantic fictions in the long eighteenth century.

At present, I’m developing research and public engagement projects with external partners, focusing on the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower sailing (1620), as well as the 400th anniversary of the death of Pocahontas at Gravesend in 1617.  

I’m a founding member of the Transatlantic Exchanges Forum and a member of the Environment and Literature research cluster in the School of Humanities and Performing Arts. As well, I’m a member of the steering committee for the Arts Institute and I’m the Research Co-ordinator for the English and Creative Writing team.


Grants & contracts

The US Embassy / BAAS, funded the 2016 The Mayflower and its Afterlives lecture at Plymouth University. (2016)

The Research Center for Urban Cultural History, UMass(Boston) and Plymouth University co-funded my participation in the planning ofa four-year project: “Explorations in the Urban Atlantic.” (2011)

Small Research Grant from the British Academy: funded tripsto the Bodleian Library, Dr Williams Library (London) and the Royal Society.(2009)

Californian Institute of Technology (Caltech) and Glasgow University: Researchtrip to the Huntington Library, California. (2003)

Malcolm Bradbury Award, for the best research proposal inthe field of American Literary Studies: Research trip to the American AntiquarianSociety, Massachusetts. (2002)

Research groups

  • Centre for Humanities, Music and Performing Arts Research (HuMPA)
  • English and Creative Writing
  • Expanded Narrative
  • Transatlantic Exchanges Forum

·        ‘Native American Voices in Colonial North America’ in the Routledge Companion to Native American Literature, ed. Deborah Madsen. Routledge, 2015

 ·        John Eliot and the Praying Indians of Massachusetts Bay: Communities and Connections in Puritan New England. Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 2013

·        Nature, Nation and Nostalgia: Narratives of Natural History in Spanish and British America (1750-1800) article co-authored with Helen Cowie, Journal for Eighteenth Century Studies 36 (4) 2013: 545-558   

·        “Curiosities of the New World and John Winthrop, Jr.’s, Epistolary Visits to the Royal Society”, in Transatlantic Traffic and (Mis)Translations, eds Daniel Maudlin and Robin Peel. Lebanon, New Hampshire: University Press of New England 2013

·        “ ‘How may wee come to serve God?’: Spaces of Religious Utterance in John Eliot’s Indian Tracts.” The Seventeenth Century 24 (1)2009: 74-96

·        “ ‘keep wide awake in the eyes’: Seeing Eyes in Wendy Rose’s Poetry,” Transatlantic Voices: European Interpretations of Native American Literature. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2007. Pp.127-149.

·        “Captive and Captivating: The Spectacle of Animals in Early American Natural History” The Colonial Literatures of America (Eds) Susan Castillo and Ivy Schweitzer. Oxford: Blackwell, 2005. Pp. 517-532.

·        Literary Encyclopedia Online http://www.litencyc.com/LitEncycFrame.htm (2004): “N. Scott Momaday” (2000 words); “Reverend John Eliot” (600 words); “N. Scott Momaday’s House Made of Dawn” (2000words)

·        “Written and Spoken Words and Worlds: John Eliot’s Algonquian Translation” Symbiosis: A Journal of Anglo-American Literary Relations 7(2) 2003: 241-260.