School of Social and Political Science

Chisomo Kalinga

Job Title

Wellcome Trust Medical Humanities Fellow


Room number


Street (Address)

22a Buccleuch Place

City (Address)


Country (Address)


Post code (Address)




King’s College London, PhD, English Research (2014)

George Mason University, Masters, English: Professional Writing and Editing (2006)

McMaster University, Honours B.A., English Literature (2004)



Author: HIV & AIDS in Anglophone African Literature (In development)

East and Southern Africa Editor: “Health Humanities in Global Context: Race and Ethnicity Across the World” Palgrave (under contract)


‘Prophecy, Power and AIDS in Wim Boswinkel’s Erina’ Journal of the African Literature Association Volume 9/Issue 2 2015

‘Memorialising Sex, the Dying and the Dead in HIV/AIDS Drama: Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart and William Hoffman’s As Is’ Stet Journal, Issue 4 (June 2014)

Selected media

Contributor: ‘If you’re thinking of singing the Lukaku chant this weekend, history should convince you otherwise’ by Max McLean Press Association 27 March 2018 < >

‘Confronting the Black Jezebel Stereotype: The contentious legacy of Brenda Fassie, South Africa’s pop princess’ The Dangerous Women Project 20 March 2016 <

‘The Clubs Shaping Malawi’s Literary Future’ OkayAfrica 6 November 2015 <

Book reviews

‘Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’ Make: A Literary Magazine Issue 15/Misfits, 28 August 2014

‘Love, Money and HIV: Becoming a Modern African Woman in the Age of AIDS by Sanyu A. Mojola’ Centre for Medical Humanities blog, Durham University (18 November 2014) < >


‘Promoting Human Rights and Access to Health Services in Prisons in Malawi: A Baseline Study’ with Malawi Prison Services, United Nations Office on Drugs & Crime (UNODC) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), conducted by Volunteer Services Oversees (VSO)

See Chisomo's full CV at

Research interests

Research interests

Medical Humanities, Illness narratives, Narrative Medicine, Disease as Metaphor, Arts & Humanities-based research methodologies, participatory action resarch, Oral & print literary cultures, History of Medicine in Malawi, Traditional healing practices

Current research (2018-2021)

Her current Wellcome-funded project is titled ‘Ulimbaso ‘You will be strong again’: How literary aesthetics and storytelling inform concepts of health and wellbeing in Malawi’. This 3-year project offers a theoretically-rich investigation into how indigenous literary practices (performance, form and aesthetics) can be used to address community health . It offers a unique engagement with cultural ideologies of health in literature to shed light on old traditions can be used in a new capacity to promote community engagement with public health. She will spend one year conducting fieldwork with the Behaviour & Health team with the Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Trust Clinical Research centre at the College of Medicine, University of Malawi in Blantyre. The fieldwork investigates contemporary performance and storytelling from poets, actors, writers and ordinary citizens within communities to examine the ways modern and traditional African literature and storytelling forms are used to inform and help communities to negotiate matters pertaining to illness, treatment, health, and wellbeing. The objective of this study is to determine how literature--which holds a unique reverence in the day-to-day lives of African citizens--can be used to improve delivery of health care services through a better understanding of the interplay between African indigenous literature and structures of thought surrounding health.

Previous grants

2017-2018 – Wellcome Seed Grant ‘Tili Tonse (We are Listening): Mapping Oral Narratives and Storytelling Traditions Amongst Various Community Health Settings in Malawi’ at University of Edinburgh, Centre of African Studies

2014-2015 - Postdoctoral Fellow ‘Narratives of Magic and Medicine in British Central Africa Protectorate/Nyasaland: Journals of the Medical Missionaries from the Church of Scotland (1875-1915)’ at University of Edinburgh, Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities

Public engagement

She is also collaborating with the Art and Global Health Centre Africa and the University of Malawi to launch the first medical humanities network for Malawiana studies, the Malawi Medical Humanities Network (MMHN). This is an interdisciplinary network for Malawiana researchers around the world to share events, programmes, projects and exhibitions that explore the link between health and the humanities. [See]

The outcomes and data from her work will be shared on the digital archive created for this project titled: ‘Malawian (Hi)Stories and the Medical Humanities: A Digital Repository for Arts, Humanities and Health Resources’. [See]

She is an advisor on the AHRC-MRC Global Public Health Partnership grant titled “Culture And Bodies: An Interdisciplinary Approach To Non-communicable Disease Prevention In Malawi And Tanzania”. [See]

She is also a member-at-large with the British Society for Literature and Science. []

Works within