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Debbie Pullinger


Research Associate
Research Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge

E-mail Address


+ 44 (0)1223 767543


  • PhD Education, University of Cambridge
  • MPhil, Education (Critical Approaches to Children’s Literature), University of Cambridge
  • BEd, University of Leeds

Membership of Professional Bodies/Associations


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Debbie is the full-time researcher on the Poetry and Memory project, working with David Whitley. Debbie’s PhD was on orality and textuality in poetry written for children. Alongside her doctoral research she worked on the Cambridge Poetry Teaching project, a small-scale local study of teachers’ perceptions of poetry teaching, from which the Poetry and Memory project was developed. Debbie worked in teaching, educational publishing, and as a writer and book editor before returning to Academia in 2009.

Academic Area/Links

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Research Topics

  • Poetry and memory
  • Orality and textuality
  • Poetry written for children
  • Children’s literature
  • Cognitive poetics

Current Research Project(s)

  • The Poetry and Memory Project is a three-year interdisciplinary project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, which is investigating experiences of poetry learning, and examining the relationships between memorisation, recitation and understanding.

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  • Critical Approaches to Children's Literature (MPhil/MEd/PGCE-M)


  • Children and Literature (Education Tripos Part 2)

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Principal and Recent Publications

Pullinger, D. (2014) Infinity and Beyond: The Poetic List in Children's Poetry. Children's Literature in Education. (Online First)

Pullinger, D. (2014) Poetry Recitation: tradition, terms and conditions. Writing in Education. 63

Pullinger, D. and Whitley, D. (2013). Sounding Sense: the Place, Problems and Potential of Performance in Poetry. Changing English. 20(2), 160–173.

Pullinger, D. (2012). In Living Memory: The Dying Art of Poetry Learning and a Case for Revival. Changing English. 19(4), 383–393.

Pullinger, D. (2009). “Here is a childhood book”’: exploring Charles Causley’s children’s poetry and its relationship to his adult poetry. In M. Styles, L. Joy and D. Whitley (Eds.), Poetry and Childhood. Stoke on Trent: Trentham.


Pullinger, D. (Forthcoming) Lyric. In L. Joy and K. Wakely-Mulroney (Eds.), The Aesthetics of Children's Poetry: A Study of Children's Verse in English. London: Ashgate.