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1. Modern English. 2. The regenerating city: space, hauntings and youth culture in the post-millennial Manchester novel

Gufar, Sahil


Sahil Gufar


Emma Henderson


My thesis investigates space, hauntings and youth culture in Manchester with two projects: a novel and a critical dissertation.

The novel is a coming-of-age story that takes place in Ashton-under-Lyne. Modern English explores the experience of growing up in Ashton in the twentyfirst century and examines how space shapes the lives of three working-class characters. My novel confronts issues of school bullying, familial trauma, first love, racism and the way in which these issues interplay with the spectral past and ‘lost futures’. Furthermore, the novel also probes the relationship between the city of Manchester and Greater Manchester towns such as Ashton. I am intrigued by how youth culture operates in these inside/outside towns and their historical connection to the city of Manchester.

My critical dissertation analyses two post-millennial Manchester novels: Cold Water (1) by Gwendoline Riley and The Curry Mile (2) by Zahid Hussain. These novels offer distinct experiences of being young adults in the city. In these novels, Manchester is a youth city, regenerating and reinventing itself, as it moves further away from its past as an industrial centre. The spectre of industrialism hangs over Manchester, brought out as the characters in both novels live in the city, navigate the city, grapple with their relationship to the city, and confront hauntings of the past that emerge in the present or, once again, manifest as ‘lost futures’. (3)

My thesis and novel come together in their preoccupation with the past: whether it is familial trauma or the memory of industrial Manchester which remains a haunting subtext to the city and its surrounding towns.

(1) Riley, Gwendoline, Cold Water (London: Vintage, 2003).
(2) Hussain, Zahid, The Curry Mile (London: Suitcase Press, 2006).
(3) Fisher, Mark, Ghosts of My Life: Writings on Depression, Hauntology and Lost Futures (Alresford: Zero Books, 2014), p.8.

Thesis Type Thesis
Publication Date 2021-10
Additional Information Embargo on access until 1 August 2025 - The thesis is due for publication, or the author is actively seeking to publish this material.

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