I'm a U.K. academic working in the fields of literature, film and cultural studies. My main area of research is the Gothic. I'm currently Senior Lecturer in English and Film 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 and the Manchester Game Studies Network.
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 analyses and 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 FICTIOn, PHILOSOPHY AND SCIENCE
I am working on a second monograph tentatively titled Gothic Entanglement - Metaphysics, Materialisms and Ethics in Children’s Fiction. The book reads various issues arising from New Materialist and Speculative Realist philosophies and the philosophy of science through contemporary children’s fiction.
I am also on the steering group for a project that explores science and children’s literature, organised by Dr Emily Alder at Edinburgh Napier University.
Gothic and WEIRD MONSTERS
I also research the representation and function of Gothic monsters in literature and film. My previously published work includes articles and chapters on monsters and sexuality, the representation of witch children, witches and Gothic feminism, vampires and young adult femininity, zombies, and the "tentacular teratology" of Weird fiction. Forthcoming work in this area includes an exploration of the radical ambiguity of the witch in Folk Horror cinema, an EcoHorror reading of plant and fungal zombies and a re-evaluation of the role of the female grotesque in contemporary horror television.
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.
Games and Philosophy
I'm a member of the Manchester Game Studies Network and an avid "analogue" gamer. I play and organize horror-themed live-action role-playing events. My interest in Gothic, philosophy and games combine in forthcoming publications that explore the transformation of space and encounters with “objects” in “Weird” or Lovecraftian LARP. Some of this work has been written in collaboration with Dr Laura Mitchell, the founder of Seriously Learned.
Together, 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.
Check out some of my old blogs on the pleasures of "becoming a zombie" in role-playing games and the carnivalesque aspects of "Cthulhu Horror" LARP.
Impact and Engagement events
Recent past events include a lecture on women 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 recently hosted a Q+A with gothic writers, Laura Purcell and Stuart Turton at Manchester’s Deansgate Waterstones and helped deliver events at the annual Gothic Manchester Festival. I also work with Manchester BID to enhance the annual “Halloween in the City” festival with game-based activities.
Saturday 2nd February - Panel Discussion for the 2nd Annual Folk Horror Festival in Manchester.
Wednesday 15th May - Games and Philosophy, a public seminar for the Manchester Game Studies Network.
books / book chapters
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)
‘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, 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, 2017)
‘“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)
‘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)
‘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).
'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)
‘Witches, ‘bitches’ or feminist trailblazers? The Witch in Folk Horror Cinema’ in a forthcoming issue of Revenant.
‘A Tale of Two Women: The Female Grotesque in Showtime’s Penny Dreadful’ in a forthcoming issue of Feminist Media Studies.
Blogs and online media
Stengers makes my head hurt. Is it time for Netflix and a cuppa yet?
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.