I am currently Reader in English Literature at Edge Hill University, having taught at the universities of York, Manchester, Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores, and, most recently, at the University of Salford, where I lectured in Contemporary British Poetry.
I gained my BA in English Literature, my MA (with Distinction) from Bristol University, and was awarded my PhD by the University of York.
The main focus of my academic research/publications is on gender and sexuality. Originally a medievalist by training, my published work now focuses equally on contemporary British Literature and I have particular research interests in the poetic work of Carol Ann Duffy and Lee Harwood and in the fictions of Susan Hill, Hilary Mantel and Sarah Waters.
I was appointed to the Peer Review College for the Arts and Humanities Research Council in 2016 and am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. My books include a study of medieval anchoritic ideology from c.1080 to c.1500 (University of Wales Press, 2012) and the first full-length monograph on the complete poetic works of the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy (forthcoming for Manchester University Press), a project for which I was awarded a British Academy Grant. I have also written for the national press, including the Guardian and the Times Higher Education Supplement. My media appearances include work for Channel 4 and I have hosted two television series: ‘About Books’ and ‘52%’ for Bay / Made TV.
At Edge Hill I supervise doctoral and master’s level work on gender, sexuality and women’s literature. I am also the chair of GenSex, Edge Hill University’s Gender and Sexuality Research Group. I was the programme leader for the former MA in Women’s Writing from 2006-9 and now lead modules on the MA in English. My undergraduate teaching is primarily focused on Contemporary English Literature and on the literature of the Middle Ages & Renaissance.
Contemporary British literature and culture, especially poetry.
Medieval/Renaissance literature and culture, especially anchoritism.
Critical & cultural theory, including gender, sexuality & feminisms.
Sexuality, same-sex desire, suffering, space.
Women’s writing and the development of female authorship.