Research team


Emma-Louise Silva is a senior postdoctoral fellow working on her FWO-funded project "The Paper Traces of Reimagined Memories in Children’s Literature" at the University of Antwerp, Belgium. This project delves into the writing materials of authors such as Roald Dahl, Jamila Gavin, David Almond, and Jacqueline Woodson to garner insights into life writing and negotiations of memory and imagination. Her research on cognitive narratology, genetic criticism, philosophy of mind, and age studies has been published in the European Journal of Life Writing, in Age, Culture, Humanities, and in the co-authored monograph, Age in David Almond’s Oeuvre: A Multi-Method Approach to Studying Age and the Life Course in Children’s Literature. She worked as a postdoctoral researcher aboard the ERC-funded project "Constructing Age for Young Readers", led by Vanessa Joosen, and she combined this role with a lecturing position at the University of Antwerp, teaching the "Joyce Seminar" and assisting with the BA courses "Introduction to the Study of Literature in English", "Nineteenth-century Literature in English", and "Twentieth-century Literature in English", and with the MA courses "Writers at Work" and "Constructing Age in Modern Literature". As a member of the Centre for Manuscript Genetics, Emma-Louise defended her PhD on James Joyce and cognition in 2019. Her PhD was part of the Top Bof project "Literature and the Extended Mind: A Reassessment of Modernism", led by Dirk Van Hulle. She has published articles on an array of Joyce-related topics, she has co-edited two journal volumes on Joyce and modernism, and her monograph, Modernist Minds: Materialities of the Mental in the Works of James Joyce has recently been published by Brill. Emma-Louise is co-organiser of the "Children’s Literature Summer School" at the University of Antwerp and she is a member of the editorial board for Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures. She has also worked as a digital editor for Peter Petré’s ERC-project "Mind-Bending Grammars" and as a postdoctoral coordinator of the "Pillar 1 Science and Technology Roadmap" under the supervision of Mike Kestemont for Time Machine Europe.

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The Paper Traces of Reimagined Memories in Children's Literature. 01/11/2023 - 31/10/2026


For authors writing about their youth in books for young readers, memories play a prominent role in the creative process. "Reimagined Memories" generates insights regarding the underexplored relationship between memory and imagination for approaches that consider episodic remembering, or recollections of experiences, as imagining the past. The project addresses this phenomenon from three angles: firstly, it rethinks how adult authors draw on memories of youth to create fiction. Focusing on Roald Dahl, Jamila Gavin, David Almond, and Jacqueline Woodson, "Reimagined Memories" charts how authors craft books at the nexus of memory and imagination. Secondly, the project transposes the study of writing processes, or genetic criticism, to children's literature studies: by examining an array of writing materials, we can trace how writers imaginatively incorporate memories of youth in their stories. Thirdly, this project contributes to filling the gap at the level of authorship in cognitive narratology, or the study of cognition in relation to narratives: although authors' thoughts during the writing process cannot be re-enacted, the paper traces of their creativity can be examined. Revealing mechanisms of reimagined memories unfolding on paper, this project forms an important contribution to literary studies by considering the narrative genesis of children's literature, while drawing on literary creativity to broaden the boundaries of knowledge regarding memory and imagination.


Research team(s)

Project type(s)

  • Research Project