Dr. Kiene Brillenburg Wurth is professor of Literature and Comparative Media at Utrecht University

Kiene has an interdisciplinary focus in Comparative Literature. She is trained in literature and film on the MA level (cum laude), as well as in literature, music, and music philosophy on the PhD level (cum laude) with a focus on Anglophone, French, and German aesthetics. She has since developed research lines in literature, (new) media, and creative thinking. She was Head of Humanities at University College Utrecht between 2017 and 2020, and director of graduate studies for the Department of Languages, Literature, and Communication between 2013 and 2017. Between 2011-2016 she was project leader of the NWO-funded VIDI research project Back to the Book, and visiting scholar at Harvard University in 2010-2011. She has worked in Utrecht since 2001, having previously taught at Groningen University and the Free University of Amsterdam. Kiene is a member of the Utrecht School for medical humanities and co-founder of the interdisciplinary platform UPCE, which seeks to empower creativity in primary, secondary, and higher education. She has been a member of the research committee on Literature, Arts and Media (CLAM) of the International Comparative Literature Association since 2018, and member of the editorial board of the Journal for Possibility Studies (Wiley) since 2022.  


Kiene is author of Musically Sublime (New York: Fordham UP, 2009), a study into the idea of the sublime set against practices and philosophies of music in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. Forthcoming is Crazy Literature, a book on literature in the 20th century as a deeply experimental art that creatively challenges the dominance of narrative form. She is also co-author of The Life of Texts. An introduction to literary studies (AUP 2019) and, in an earlier edition, of Het leven van teksten. Een Inleiding in de literatuurwetenschap (Amsterdam UP, 2006, 2008). Her inaugural address Het schrijven aan de wand: literatuur in de toekomst (The Writing on the Wall: Literature in the Future) on literature, new media and the future of writing, was held and published in 2015. In the early 2000s, Kiene started a long collaboration with the artist duo Heringa/VanKalsbeek, co-authoring the catalogue for their solo exhibition in the Amsterdam Stedelijk Museum, Controlled Accidents. Since the late 1990s, Kiene has also authored numerous articles in international, peer reviewed journals and volumes on literature, intermediality, music, satire, aesthetics, and, since more recently, East Asian philosophical perspectives on creativity and experimental writing.


Kiene is editor of two books on literature, book history, and new media technologies: Book Presence in a Digital Age (Bloomsbury 2018) and Between Page and Screen: Remaking Literature Through Cinema and Cyberspace (Fordham/Oxford UP 2012). In 2019, she was guest editor of a special issue on paradoxes of creativity for the Journal of Creative Behaviour (Wiley). In 2018, she was guest editor of a special issue on new poetics and new materialities of storytelling entitled Literature and the Material Turn for the journal Comparative Literature (Duke UP). For the Minnesota Review of Critical and Creative Writing she is co-editor of a one-and-a-half special issue on Mobilizing Creativity in the Humanties,(Duke UP, 2022). 


Kiene teaches MA courses on literature and comparative media, the RMA research lab, and BA courses on creativity, literary theory and intermediality (literature, film, and music), literature and human rights, literature and philosophy, and current theories and world literature. She lectures in the Netherlands and abroad on her research and related interests, such as mastering creativity and creative thinking for medical humanities.


Visit the staff website of our section
Visit Kiene's work on Researchgate



Mobilising Creativity, part I. A special issue for The Minnesota Review. A journal of creative and critical writing (Duke UP. 2023: 100) (ed. with Iris van der Tuin and Nanna Verhoeff)

(with Ann Rigney) The Life of Texts. An Introduction to Literary Studies. This is a completely revised and rewritten version of the earlier, Dutch publication.

June 2019. Editor Kiene Brillenburg Wurth. The Creativity Paradox

September 1, 2018. Editor: Kiene Brillenburg Wurth.

Book Presence in a Digital Age

Between page and Screen: Remaking Literature Through Cinema and Cyberspace

Musically Sublime

The life of Texts

Controlled Accidents
Literature and Comparative Media
Inaugural lecture date