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Personal profile

Further information

Additional Information

I welcome enquiries from prospective PhD students interested in working on any area of twentieth century/contemporary literature, culture or theory - particularly those focusing on matters of gender and/or sexuality, or on women's experimental writing.

My recent and current PhD students have worked on topics as diverse as:

  • Translation in contemporary Northern Irish literature
  • The modernist essay
  • Reading and interactivity: literary experiment, hypertext fiction, and online gaming
  • Space and sexuality in contemporary fiction
  • Neoliberalism and the historicisation of the 1980s
  • Queerness and stupidity
  • Marginalia in J.M. Coetzee and David Foster Wallace
  • Contemporary literature and the 'New Atheism'
  • Proceduralism and the autonomy of play in computer gaming
  • The 'composite novel' and the short story cycle
  • 'Indiscipline' and visuality in Brooke-Rose, Brophy and Quin
  • A genealogy of 'trans', via readings of science fiction literature and film
  • Gendered violence and women experimentalists of the 1960s and 70s
  • Postmillennial Critical Practices and Women's Creative Literary Criticism
  • Instapoetry, 'intimate publics' and gender

I'm affiliated to the Centre for the Study of Sexuality and Culture (find out more about CSSC at: www.arts.manchester.ac.uk/subjectareas/englishamericanstudies/research/cssc/) and am involved in the annual Sexuality Summer School, details of which can be found at the CSSC site.

In the last few years, in addition to my academic conference papers, I've done talks for the following festivals, events and organisations:

Ladyfest Manchester: www.ladyfestmanchester.com

Queer Up North: www.queerupnorth.com

Homotopia: www.homotopia.net

'Outing the Past' (LGBT History Month, Lancashire Archives): www.lancashire.gov.uk/corporate/web/

The Prince's Teaching Institute: www.princes-ti.org.uk/

Manchester Literature Festival: www.manchesterliteraturefestival.co.uk/


I completed my PhD at Birkbeck, University of London, in 2004 and taught for several years at the University of Westminster before joining Manchester in 2007. In 2011 I spent 8 months as a Visiting Scholar at NYU; and in 2014-15 I spent 18 months in Berlin, as a Humboldt Experienced Research Fellow.

Research interests

My doctoral dissertation theorized the relationship between intention and text, arguing that the text itself displays a kind of fundamental 'intentionality', distinct from any authorial intention that might be at work in it. A book based on that dissertation, entitled Intention and Text, was published by Continuum in 2008.

In my subsequent publications, the politics of gender and sexuality have come to play a large part - although in many cases such matters have also been related to issues of textual form and questions of meaning and signification: for example, in my discussion of the 'narrativising' of male homosexuality in Hollinghurst, and my exploration of A.L. Kennedy's perverse romances (in my first book, A.L. Kennedy, published by Palgrave in 2007), or in my work on Sarah Waters for the Contemporary Critical Perspectives collection of essays on her work which I edited (published in 2013). Underlying this is an abiding fascination with the relationships between form, meaning and (gender and sexual) identity and representation. 

My third monograph, Writing Shame, published in early 2020, investigates the triangular relationship between shame, gender and writing, via readings of an array of contemporary texts - literary, popular, fictional and autofictional. In Writing Shame I start from the premise that femininity and shame are utterly and necessarily imbricated, and I examine writing that explores and inhabits - rather than seeking to overcome - this state of shame, considering the dissonant effects of such explorations on and beyond the page. I received an Experienced Researcher Fellowship from the Alexander Von Humboldt foundation to support the research and writing for Writing Shame, and from 2014-2015 was based in Berlin.

My current interests lie particularly in experimental writing by women: a special issue on contemporary women's experimental writing for Contemporary Women's Writing was published in 2015; a chapter on realism and experimentalism in postwar women's writing formed part of the History of British Women's Writing, Vol IX, 1945-1975, which was published by Palgrave in 2016; in 2019 Edinburgh University Press published British Avant-Garde Fiction of the 1960s, which I co-edited with Nonia Williams. My new monograph project - tentatively entitled Gendered Experiments - analyses the gender ramifications of three areas/strategies of literary experiment: appropriation, constraint, and excess, through analyses of a range of texts by women from across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

I am Co-Editor of the OUP journal, Contemporary Women's Writing, and a member of the editorial boards of Open Gender Journal (in Germany) and C21 (in the UK).



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 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Creative Manchester


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