Maria Morelli is a Visiting Research Fellow in 2023-24 at the Institute of Languages, Cultures & Societies, where she is working on postcolonial first-person narratives by Italian and Portuguese women authors. She is also a member of the Interdisciplinary Gender and Sexuality Research Cluster based at De Montfort University, Leicester, and acts as external Evaluator for the European Commission. Dr Morelli completed her PhD in Italian Studies at the University of Leicester in 2017 with a thesis on Elsa Morante, Goliarda Sapienza, and Dacia Maraini. From 2018 to 2021 she was Marie Curie Research Fellow in Modern Italian Studies at the University of Milan, where she taught classes on women’s theatre and feminist philosophy. She has taught Italian literature and language at the University of Kent and the University of Leicester, and at Wheaton College (USA) as a Fulbright grantee. Her research interests are in gender, sexuality, and embodiment in modern and contemporary Italian literature, on which she has published several articles and book chapters. She has co-edited the volume Women and the Public Sphere in Modern and Contemporary Italy (Troubador, 2017) and published the edited collection Il teatro cambia genere (Mimesis, 2019). Her monograph, Queer(ing) Gender in Italian Women’s Writing (2021) is the winner of the Peter Lang Competition in Italian Studies and is featured in the 'Italian Modernities' book series of Peter Lang Oxford Publishing. Her research project at the ILCS applies multidisciplinary and gender perspectives to compare Italian and Portuguese texts around three key strands in women's postcolonial writing: home/homelessness and relationality; gender and racial identity; self-narratives of bodily and/or spatial exile. Taking into account the inextricability of the gender/race nexus, the project returns cultural agency to the postcolonial female writing subject, acknowledging the latter's role in actively shaping the literary and cultural norm in a way that challenges monolithic notions of gendered identity, Europe and Europeanness.