Stephen Fay

Dr Stephen Fay

Lecturer in Spanish

Academic and research departments

School of Literature and Languages.


Areas of specialism

Medical Humanities, Dementia Studies, Latin American Cultural Studies

My qualifications

PhD Latin American Studies
University of Nottingham
MA Hispanic Studies
King's College London


Research interests

Research projects

Research collaborations


Postgraduate research supervision



Stephen Fay (2011)Liminal visitors to an island on the edge: Sartre and Ginsberg in revolutionary Cuba, In: Studies in Travel Writing15(4)pp. 407-425 Routledge

The Cuban revolution drastically altered the country's socio-cultural calibration and from 1959 pleasure-seeking tourists made way for intellectual travellers keen to contribute to the revolutionary process. Jean-Paul Sartre arrived on the island in 1960, Allen Ginsberg followed in 1965; their experiences and observations couldn't have been more different. Although explanation for this discrepancy could be sought in the ideological idiosyncrasies of the two writers, this essay argues that the island visited was not the same. Using a liminal ontology inherited from anthropology to explore the Cuban revolution as a rite of national passage, this essay hopes to illuminate some of the key contours of the island's shifting socio-cultural topography over five critical years of consolidation. Through the lenses offered by these two travelling writers, internal and external forces appear to propel revolutionary Cuba beyond a liminal period of archipelagic flux towards a more determinedly insular and strictly structured archetype by the mid-1960s.

Stephen Fay (2010)Mapping the Cuban Condition in Fernando Ortiz's Un catauro de cubanismos, In: New West Indian Guide84(1-2)pp. 41-62 BRILL

Explores the idiom-identity complex in Cuba in the first three decades of the twentieth century, concentrating on an emblematic catalog of the idiomatic raw material of the Cuban language community: Fernando Ortiz's vernacular dictionary, 'Un Catauro de cubanismos' from 1923. Author considers the critical complex of history, geography, and identity within Ortiz's dictionary. Language and identity are irrevocably enmeshed. From within the infinitely complex quotidian chaos, language articulates, performs, and expresses experience. each moment’s mayhem is tamed by the narrative solace of “beginning,” “middle,” and “end” and it is through the articulation of solitary andegoistic experience that isolated “I” becomes known to, and part of, the collective “We.” For Roy Harris, “language-making is ... the essential process by which men construct a cultural identity for themselves, and for the communities to which they see themselves as belonging” (Harris 1980:Preface). This sense of “language community” inevitably displaces others beyond the borders of collective expression; shared readings of shared experiences are catalysts for community coalescence and narrative self-defense

Stephen Fay, Maritza García-Toro, Liliana Hincapié Henao, Ángela Andrade Villegas, Francisco Lopera (2023)Creativity during COVID-19: Evaluating an online TimeSlips storytelling program for people living with dementia during quarantine in Colombia, In: The Gerontologist Oxford University Press

Since its first implementation in 1998, evidence has been presented of the positive impact of the TimeSlips storytelling method for people with dementia in long-term care (LTC) settings. This paper extends this evidence in important new directions: it is the longest TimeSlips study to date and the first to evaluate the feasibility of online delivery of the method (in response to COVID-19 quarantine) and the impact of this on the personhood, quality of life and psychological well-being of Spanish-speaking participants in non-LTC settings in the Global South. Trained facilitators provided weekly, one-hour TimeSlips sessions via Zoom over 32 consecutive weeks to eight participants with dementia. Semi-structured interviews of participants and care partners were conducted within one week of the final intervention. Thematic analysis evaluated the resultant qualitative data. This online implementation of the TimeSlips creative expression (CE) method reinforced key facets of participants' personhood (self-expression and self-perception, which led in turn to increased care partner appreciation), had a positive impact on key domains of quality of life (mood, energy levels and cognitive function) and stimulated a key aspect of psychological well-being (the formation and maintenance of social ties). The online delivery of the TimeSlips method to participants who remain in their own homes is feasible and effective. Future research should compare the benefits of online versus face-to-face delivery of this CE method.

Stephen Fay (2017)The ambivalent Apostle of 1953: a liminal reading of the centenary of Jose Marti, In: Journal of Iberian and Latin-American studies23(2)pp. 175-193 Taylor & Francis

This article has common Cuban motifs at its core: the prevalent obsession with the notion of collective identity, the ideological and psychological importance of national anniversaries, and the omnipresence of the archetypal patriot Jose Marti. It approaches all from a particular theoretical perspective, however, and thus presents a new reading of the so-called ideario martiano and of the Cuban "national narrative" at a critical moment of the island's historical trajectory: 1953, the centenary of Marti's birth. Taking its lead from cultural anthropology (and particularly from the work of Victor Turner), this article presents the half-century since independence in 1902 as a post-colonial "rite of passage" punctuated by a series of turning points, or "limens," within which the sense of national identity was exposed to sustained scrutiny by public intellectuals and activists. The article provides evidence of such intense collective introspection in 1953 when commemorations of Marti's centenary stimulated a reexamination of the Republic in the light of his luminous example. Importantly, this turning point is also exposed as a battleground on which antagonistic interpretations of martiano heroism, Republican history, and national identity faced each other in exegetical strife.

Stephen Fay (2019)Liminality in Cuba's Twentieth-Century Identity Boydell & Brewer

This book offers an innovative and provocative analysis of the much-studied Cuban Revolution by reminding us that Fidel Castro's was actually the second of the island's twentieth-century revolutions. By bringing 1959 into criticalcommunication with the revolution of 1933, the book explores Cuba's trajectory from colony to republic to revolution, not as a linear inevitability, but as a rite of collective passage punctuated by turning points in which publicdebate turned to almost obsessive reflection on national 'identity' and national 'destiny'. In re-reading important works of many of Cuba's most significant intellectual and political figures, whilst also revealing little known but truly transcendental contributions to the collective narrative during both revolutionary periods, this book makes a major contribution to a more complex, nuanced and sophisticated understanding of Cuban cultural history and Cuban national identity in the twentieth century. In both periods, the book reveals revolutionary zeal challenged by dogged ambivalence, nihilism undercut by remembrance, the teleological pursuit of 'The End' of the national narrative displaced by 'An End', always and forever 'to be continued'.