Prof David Herd

The Berry Chair of Literature & Human Rights

Researcher profile

+44 (0)1334 46 1879



David Herd is a poet, critic and co-organiser of the project Refugee Tales. His work is at the intersection of literature and human rights.

David’s critical history, Writing Against Expulsion in the Post-War World: Making Space for the Human was published by Oxford University Press in September 2023. His most recent collection of poetry, Walk Song (2022), was a Book of the Year in the Australian Review of Books. He has published widely on the politics of human movement and on modern and contemporary poetry and poetics and has held visiting fellowships at George Mason University, Simon Fraser University and the Writing Center Gloucester, MA.  His edited volume, Contemporary Olson, was published by Manchester University Press in 2016.

In collaboration with Anna Pincus and colleagues at Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group, David has co-organised the project Refugee Tales since 2014, through which he has helped articulate the call for a future without detention. Refugee Tales makes its call by sharing the stories of people who have experienced indefinite detention in the UK. Stories have been published in four volumes by Comma Press.

David is currently Co-Investigator on the AHRC project ‘Archive of Solidarity: Precarity, Creativity and Shared Future-Making across Closed Borders’ (PI, Dr Ozlem Biner, SOAS). He was Principal Investigator on the British Academy project ‘Hostile Environments: Polices, Stories, Responses’ from 2019-2022.

PhD supervision

  • Viktoriia Medvied