Personal profile

Biography

I joined the Centre for New Writing at Manchester in 2017, having previously taught at the Universities of Sheffield and Sussex. I completed my PhD in 2011, within the cross-discplinary programme of the London Consortium at Birkbeck, University of London. My work moves between fiction, theory, and forms of creative criticism and is often informed by ongoing interests in film, urban studies, queer and trans theory, and class. Midland: A Novel Out of Time (Penned in the Margins, 2014) was shortlisted for the 2015 Gordon Burn Prize, and Never Was: A Novel WIthout a World (Cipher Press, 2023) was shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize. I also write short fiction; a story called 'Home Death' was longlisted for the 2019/20 Galley Beggar Press Short Story Prize, and in 2021 The Aleph Press published a two-part collection of some of my fiction, Funny Queer. My earlier literary critical work explored the encounter between literature and silent film: my monograph on this subject was completed during a post-doctoral Fellowship at the ICI Berlin Institute for Cultural Inquiry between 2012 and 2014.

I teach on UG modules in creative writing (fiction) and the MA module Key Issues in Literary and Critical Theory. Since September 2023, I have been contributing to the MA in Gender, Sexuality and Culture by teaching a new module on 'Trans Theory', which includes the option of a creative final assessment for those with a background in creative practice. 

 

Research interests

My first novel, Midland: A Novel Out of Time (Penned in the Margins, 2014), explored the twentieth-century transformations of the city of Birmingham, UK, and was shortlisted for the 2015 Gordon Burn Prize, which rewards writing that "demonstrates innovative literary methods" and challenges percieved notions of genre. Research for Midland was supported by a grant from the Canadian Centre for Architecture; the wider project also incorporated sound. I continue to be interested in the relationship between writing and space: co-edited with Adam Kaasa, Tutor in Architecture at the Royal College of Art, Uncommon Building (Spirit Duplicator, 2017) documents a collaborative exercise in speculative fiction as a methodology for thinking critically and across disciplines about site, setting, architecture and the urban. 

My creative work both informs and is informed by my critical and theoretical writing, which includes a monograph on the encounter between literature and silent film in the early twentieth century titled Literature and Film, Dispositioned: Thought, Location, World (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). The latter is also a reflection on the trajectory of free indirect style, or represented thought, across modernism. The project began as my PhD and was re-worked during a Fellowship at the ICI Berlin Institute for Cultural Inquiry between 2012 and 2014. I am often interested in work that moves between creativity and criticism; a recent essay on femininity and transmasculinity, 'The Girl I Left Behind Me', takes a ghost story by Muriel Spark as its title and subject. My creative re-writing of Ursula Le Guin's 'Paradises Lost' was published in the Archiectural Review as 'A Word Without A World'. 

Collaboration is a key element of my cross-disciplinary work; I often write with and for artists. I  contributed a short text on masculinity and conspirary theories ('The Image Has Now Started') to Richard Whitby's The Jump Room project, an essay on referentiality and the 2011 UK riots or uprisings to Judy Radul's This Is Television, and worked with Stuart Whipps on a  commission in response and accompaniment to a film about British New Towns. 

 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Creative Manchester

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