Director of MPhil in Popular Literature

My teaching and research interests lie in popular literature and American literature. I specialise in the study of place and space in American horror and gothic narratives, and have published extensively in this area. I undertook my undergraduate and MA studies at Queen’s University, Belfast, and did my PhD on the work of Shirley Jackson here at TCD. I held an IRCHSS Post-Doctoral research fellowship at Trinity from 2006-8 and was appointed a lecturer in the School of English in 2008. I have been director of the M.Phil in Popular Literature since 2009.

To date, I have published three monographs on American horror and gothic narratives: The Suburban Gothic in American Popular Culture (2009); The Rural Gothic in American Popular Culture: Backwoods Horror and Terror and the Wilderness (2013) and The Highway Horror Film (2014). I have also edited the collections Shirley Jackson: Essays on the Literary Legacy (McFarland, 2005), and, with Darryl Jones and Elizabeth McCarthy, It Came from the 1950s! Popular Culture, Popular Anxieties (2011). I am currently working on three books: an introductory guide to Key Concepts in Contemporary Popular Fictionfor Edinburgh University Press; an edited collection entitled Twenty-First Century Popular Fiction (edited with Stephen Matterson, also for EUP); and, for McFarland, a collection of short essays: Lost Souls: Essays on Horror and the Gothic’s Neglected and Forgotten Personages (edited with Dr Elizabeth McCarthy).
I have a strong professional and personal interest in horror in all its forms, and regularly review films and television shows for The Green Book and The Irish Journal of Gothic and Horror Studies.  I have presented my research papers at a wide range of national and international conferences, including the International Gothic Association Biannual Conferences in 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013, the 2012 Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association annual conference in Boston, and the 2014 IAAS conference. I also gave keynote addresses at “Bad Writing: A Symposium on Literature and Value” at King’s College London, in 2011, and, more recently, at the TCD hosted “Between Places and Spaces: Landscapes of Liminality” conference (June 2014).

I am currently supervising research students working on the following topics:

  • The horror genre and child-related controversy
  • Representations of the forest in horror and the gothic
  • Post 1950s American eco-horror narratives

In addition, I have supervised numerous M.Phil dissertations on a wide range of topics related to the study of popular literature and American literature.  I’m happy to consider applications from prospective research students with an interest in twentieth and twenty-first century horror and gothic studies and related topics within American literature. Those interested in the M. Phil in Popular Literature are welcome to contact me with their queries but should check the M.Phil home page beforehand as many of the most commonly asked questions are answered there.

Published and Forthcoming Books:

  • (Editor, with Elizabeth McCarthy), Lost Souls. North Carolina: McFarland [Forthcoming 2016/17]
  • (Editor, with Stephen Matterson), Twenty-First Century Popular Fiction. Edinburgh, EUP [Forthcoming 2016/17]
  • Key Concepts in Popular Fiction. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press [Forthcoming 2016]
  • The Highway Horror Film. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.
  • The Rural Gothic in American Popular Culture. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.
  • (Editor, with Elizabeth McCarthy and Darryl Jones) It Came From the 1950s: Popular Culture, Popular Anxieties, London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.
  • The Suburban Gothic in American Popular Culture, London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.
  • (Editor) Shirley Jackson: Essays on the Literary Legacy, North Carolina: McFarland, 2005.

Recent Articles/Book Chapters:

  • It’s not the house that’s haunted:’ Demons, Debt and the Family in Peril Formula in Recent Horror Cinema. (in) ed. Murray Leeder, Cinematic Ghosts: Haunting and Spectrality from Silent Cinema to the Digital Era. Continuum, 2015.
  • “You Mean they Ate Each Other Up?” The Shining as Wendigo Narrative. (in) ed. Danel Olson, The Shining: Studies in the Horror Film, Centipede Press, 2015.
  • “Identical Boxes Spreading Like Gangrene: Defining the Suburban Gothic”(in) editor, Charles L. Crow, A Companion to American Gothic, Chichester: John Wiley and Sons, 2013.
  • ”Children Misbehaving in the Walls!’ Wes Craven’s Suburban Family Values’ in Gothic Kinship, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2013.
  • The Beautiful Stranger and the Inconceivable Alien: The Body Replacement Narrative in 1950s American Science Fiction” (in) eds. Darryl Jones and Gerald Dawe, Beautiful Strangers: Ireland and the World of the 1950s, Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2013.
  • ”How Will I Explain Why We Live Behind a Wall?’ La Zona as Suburban Gothic Narrative.’ Ilha Do Desterro: A Journal of English Language, Literatures in English and  Cultural Studies, July 2012).
  • ”Never Take a Psychic to a Bad Place:’ The Haunted House in Modern American Horror Fiction’ (in) ed. Claire Whitehead,Critical Insights: The Fantastic, EBSCO, 2012.


School of English
Room 4010
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Trinity College
Dublin 2

Telephone: +353 01 896 2547
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The Irish Journal of Gothic and Horror Studies