Clair Wills

Cambridge University

Half-Lives: Life Stories in the Total Institution

At the Institute, she will be working on Half-Lives: Life Stories in the Total Institution, a book of creative non-fiction that interrogates the role of memoir and storytelling in recovering the experience of those “buried alive” in British and Irish post-war institutions of containment.

Clair Wills is a cultural historian who writes about lived experience in twentieth century Britain and Ireland. Her most recent book, Lovers and Strangers: An Immigrant History of Post-War Britain, won the Irish Times International Non-Fiction Prize in 2017.

She is King Edward VII Professor of English Literature at the University of Cambridge. Her current research is on life stories told across the boundaries of carceral institutions, including Mother and Baby Homes in Ireland, and post-war British psychiatric institutions.

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