I completed my undergraduate and doctoral studies here at Trinity College Dublin. Before joining the School of English, I taught with the National Centre for Research in Children’s Literature at the University of Roehampton. I have also worked at the Sussex Centre for Folklore, Fairy Tales and Fantasy at the University of Chichester and with the Student Disability Services at TCD.
My research traces connections between the imagined worlds of children’s fantasy and the real world. I particularly specialise in examining the background details in texts that are often overlooked. My PhD and the publications that emerged from it focus on the relationship between the landscapes of twentieth-century children’s fiction and the topical settings of medieval literature. My first monograph, Landscape in Children’s Literature (Routledge, 2012) offered a new way to combine literature with morphology and landscape history. I am currently working on a new project on material culture in late nineteenth and early twentieth century children’s literature. This project investigates the relationships between children and things, specifically how everyday objects – like thimbles, carpets and clocks – made their way into the children’s literature of the period.
I have published on children’s visual texts, on fantasy literature and on a range of authors including Susan Cooper, Terry Pratchett, J.R.R. Tolkien, M.R. James, and Jules Verne. In addition to children’s literature, my research interests include: landscape and literary geographies; material culture; fantasy; picturebooks, illustration and visual texts; domesticity and domestic spaces; archives and children’s literature collections.