I'm a UK academic working in literature, film and cultural studies, with special focus on the Gothic, children’s literature and games. I'm a Senior Lecturer in English at Manchester Metropolitan University, where I teach courses on Gothic Cinema, Children's and Young Adult literature and supervise PhD research projects in various aspects of Gothic literature, film and popular culture.
I have diverse research interests within Gothic Studies. My first book explores 21st century children's Gothic literature and film, but I have also written on Zombies, Weird Fiction, Postcolonial Gothic, and Witches. I'm a member of the Manchester Centre for Gothic Studies, the Manchester Game Studies Network and the Manchester Centre for Youth Studies.
Children's and Young Adult Gothic
I gained my PhD from Lancaster University in 2016. My thesis explored twenty-first-century children's Gothic literature and film, incorporating theories from literary and cultural studies. My first monograph, Twenty-First-Century Children's Gothic: From Wanderer to Nomadic Subject (Edinburgh University Press) develops this research into a completely new way of reading children’s Gothic. I reject the pedagogical model of children’s literature criticism, which assess works based on what or how they teach the child, and instead draw on the theories of Deleuze and Guattari, Rosi Braidotti and Benedict Spinoza.
Children’s FANTASTIKA, PHILOSOPHY AND SCIENCE
I am working on a second monograph called Speculative Entanglements: The Dark Matter of Children’s Fantastika. It combines science, philosophy and ecology to explore fiction for children and young adults.
I am also involved in a project that explores science and children’s literature, organised by Dr Emily Alder at Edinburgh Napier University. Find us @ChildLitSci
Post colonialism, Diversity and Decolonisation
I am interested in the intersection of imperialism, colonialism, post colonialism and the Gothic. I co-edited the collection, Telling it Slant: Critical Approaches to Helen Oyeyemi with Dr Sarah Ilott.
Sarah and I have also collaborated on the work of Nnedi Okorafor when we were asked to present a keynote address at the Global Fantastika conference in 2016.
My recent research explores how contemporary writers use the Gothic to expose and counter the legacy of imperialism in Britain today. Based on this, I devised a series of workshops for schools that use Gothic fiction to engage students with aspects of history usually neglected in the classroom. I also delivered some of my findings as part of the CILIP and Youth Libraries Group annual conference in September, 2018 and delivered CPD to librarians and teachers in Greater Manchester.
Games and MATERIALITY
I'm a member of the Manchester Game Studies Network and an avid analog gamer. I play and organize horror-themed live-action role-playing events. My interest in Gothic, philosophy and games combine in publications that explore the transformation of space and encounters with “objects” in LARP. Some of this work has been written in collaboration with Dr Laura Mitchell, the founder of Seriously Learned. Laura and I ran a LARP in the library at the sixth annual Gothic Manchester Festival. With Laura and Dr Paul Wake, I spoke about “what we can learn from games” at the 2018 Tabletop Gaming Convention in London. My work on games studies now focuses on the materiality of games and play.
Impact and Engagement WORK
In June and July, MCYS provided over 70 free books to young people in Greater Manchester as part of my book club project. I’m pleased to say that from September 2019, the project is being supported by the wonderful Siobhan Dowd trust, and we will be organising YA book clubs in more schools throughout the region. If you’re a librarian or a teacher and you are interested in how we can work with your school, please get in touch!
Other recent impact and engagement events include a panel discussion on Folk Horror at the 2nd Annual Folk Horror Festival in Manchester, a lecture on women in horror cinema at Screened MCR, a talk on witchcraft for the British Library Magic and Enchantment Study Day and at Lancaster University’s Feminist Movie Mondays. I also recently hosted a Q+A with gothic writers, Laura Purcell and Stuart Turton at Manchester’s Deansgate Waterstones and introduced a screening of the cult horror film The Seventh Victim for @BiggerFilms. I also presented at Gothic Nature II, a conference hosted by the University of Roehampton. I help deliver the annual Gothic Manchester Festival and work with Manchester BID to enhance the annual “Halloween in the City” festival.
Saturday 12th October - Bad Bugs: Zombie Outbreak! A workshop for people aged 11 and up. Free tickets here.
Saturday 19th October - Gothic Games Jam! Organised by PhD students, Charlotte Gislam and Jon Garrad. Free tickets here.
Saturday 26th October - The Witching Way performance at the Printworks, Manchester. Free tickets here.
Wednesday 12th February - LARP: Monsters, Props and Philosophy - a public seminar for the Manchester Game Studies Network.
Wednesday 19th February - Europe and the Child: Crisis, Activism, Culture - a multi-disciplinary symposium. The CFP for this event is currently open - get in touch if you have an idea for a paper or presentation.
Twenty-First Century Children’s Gothic Fiction: From Wanderer to Nomadic Subject (Edinburgh University Press, 2017)
Telling it Slant: Critical Approaches to Helen Oyeyemi, eds. Chloe Germaine Buckley and Sarah Ilott (Sussex Academic Press, 2017)
‘“You don’t think I’m like any other boy. That’s why you’re afraid”: Haunted / Haunting Children from Henry James to Chris Priestley’ in The Palgrave Handbook to Horror Literature, eds. Laura Kremmel and Kevin Costorphine (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018)
‘The Haunted Book, the Gothic child and the West Yorkshire Moors’ in Gothic Britain, eds. Ruth Heholt and William Hughes (University of Wales Press, 2018)
‘Metamorphosis of the Blood: Vampiric Femininity in Contemporary Children’s Fiction’ in Growing up with Vampires: Essays on the Undead in Children’s Media, eds. Simon Bacon and Katarzyna Bronk (McFarland, 2018)
‘“Do Panic. They’re Coming:” Remaking the Weird in contemporary Children’s Fiction’ in New Directions: Gothic Children’s Fiction, ed. Anna Jackson (Routledge, 2017)
‘Introduction’ in Telling it Slant: Critical Approaches to Helen Oyeyemi, eds. Chloé Buckley and Sarah Ilott (Sussex Academic Press, 2017)
‘Gothic Children in Boy, Snow Bird, The Opposite House and The Icarus Girl’ in Telling it Slant: Critical Approaches to Helen Oyeyemi.
‘Conclusions’ in Telling it Slant: Critical Approaches to Helen Oyeyemi.
‘Gothic and the Child Reader, 1850 – Present Day’ in The Gothic World, eds. Dale Townshend and Glennis Byron (Routledge, 2014)
‘Unhuman Entanglement: Onto-Ethics and Frances Hardinge’s Gothic Fictions’ for a collection on Young Adult Gothic Fiction, edited by Kristine Moruzi and Michelle Smith (University of Wales Press, 2019)
‘Cthulhu versus Sherlock Holmes: Shadows over Baker Street, epistemology, and the willing surrender of disbelief’ in Sideways in Time: Alternative History and Counterfactual Narratives eds. Chuckie Patel and Glyn Morgan (Liverpool University Press, 2019)
‘Encountering Weird Objects: Lovecraft, LARP and Speculative Philosophy ‘ for a collection on the intersection of Horror and Speculative Philosophy, titled Diseases of the Head (ed. Matt Rosen for Punctum Books).
‘Encounters with the “hidden” world: Speculative Philosophy in Modern Children’s Gothic’ for the forthcoming Palgrave Handbook of the Gothic, edited by Clive Bloom.
A tale of two women: the female grotesque in Showtime’s Penny Dreadful, Feminist Media Studies (2019)
Witches, ‘bitches’ or feminist trailblazers? The Witch in Folk Horror Cinema, Revenant Issue 4 (2019).
Reading ‘Fundamental British Values’ Through Children’s Gothic: Imperialism, History, Pedagogy, Children's Literature in Education (2018)
How monsters are made: “No remorse, no pity” in Shelley, Dickens and Priestley’s Mister Creecher, Horror Studies, Vol 7: Issue 1 (2016)
“Fragmenting and becoming double”: Supplementary twins and abject bodies in Helen Oyeyemi’s The Icarus Girl, The Journal of Commonwealth Literature, Vol 51: Issue 3 (2016), co-authored with Sarah Ilott
Psychoanalysis, “Gothic” Children’s Literature and the canonization of Coraline, Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, Vol 40: Issue 1 (2015)
“hatcht up in villainie and witchcraft”: fictional and historical recuperations of the witch child, in Preternature, Issue 3, No. 1. (2014)
Weird Experience: Transformations of Space/Place in Lovecraftian LARP, Studies in Gothic Fiction (with Laura Mitchell)
Blogs and online media
Booking my trains for commuting next week and looking at some 15 hour days. Just loving the start of term... 😴😴😴
Please contact me if you have any questions about my research or want to know more about what I do. I'm happy to receive informal queries about PhD supervision, but if you're looking for detailed information about research degrees at Manchester Metropolitan University, please visit our website.