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 Games Research 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 a range of 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. I have written numerous articles and book chapters on various aspects of children's Gothic fiction.
Gothic and WEIRD MONSTERS
I research and write about 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. My current work in progress in this area includes an exploration of the radical ambiguity of the witch in Folk Horror cinema and an EcoHorror reading of plant and fungal zombies.
I'm a member of the Games Research Network at Manchester Metropolitan University and an avid "analogue" gamer. In addition to board games and table-top rpgs, I play and organize horror-themed live-action role-playing events. In collaboration with Dr Laura Mitchell, I'm working on some research that brings my expertise in the Gothic to my experience of live-action role-playing games. I've also blogged about the pleasures of "becoming a zombie" in role-playing games and the carnivalesque aspects of "Cthulhu Horror" LARP. Laura and I will also be running a Cthulhu-themed horror event at the International Gothic Association Conference in 2018.
I am also interested in the intersection of postcoloniality 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 work on Oyeyemi's figuration of the Gothic Child was the genesis of my current major research project, titled Interrogating Imperialism: Children and the Gothic. My current research traces how contemporary writers use the Gothic to expose and counter the legacy of imperialism in Britain today. At the moment, I'm devising a series of workshops for delivery in schools in Greater Manchester that use Gothic fiction to engage students with aspects of history usually neglected in the classroom.
The Female Grotesque
A further interest of mine lies in contemporary manifestations of the Female Grotesque in Gothic film and television. This has emerged from my work on zombies in children's fiction. I've recently spoken about monstrous motherhood in Rosemary's Baby (1968) at a special Halloween screening at Texture in Manchester organised by Screened MCR, and I'll be taking my talk on the female grotesque and witchcraft to the British Library Magic and Enchantment Study Day in January, 2018. I'm also writing about similar issues relating to the female grotesque in the US/UK television show, Penny Dreadful.
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)
‘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)
Blogs and online media
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.