This website accompanies State Sponsored Literature: Britain and Cultural Diversity after 1945 by Asha Rogers (OUP, 2020), a book which explores how the British state supported, protected, and funded literary culture after 1945 – a historical phenomenon often overlooked in contemporary debates about the public value of literature.

State Sponsored Literature retells the story of literature’s place in post-war Britain through a series of case studies on specific institutions: the British Council, the Arts Council, the National Curriculum and UNESCO. It devotes special attention to the British state’s relations with Salman Rushdie.

As these case histories show, the state’s relations with writers and literary writing did not take place in a vacuum – instead its policies, practices, and priorities were inexorably shaped in turn. State Sponsored Literature thus challenges how we think about literature’s value today by exploring what state involvement in recent history has meant for writers, readers, institutions, and the ideal of autonomy itself.

Click here for brief summaries of the chapters

About the author

Asha Rogers is a Lecturer in Contemporary Postcolonial Literature the School of English, Drama and Creative Studies at the University of Birmingham. This is her first book.

Thanks to Nancy Turner and Annabel Lammas for building this website.