I studied for my degree in English at the University of Stirling (1991-95) and stayed on to take an MPhil in Contemporary Poetry in English, which included poetry writing. In 1996 I began my PhD in American Modernist Poetry at the University of Leeds and taught English there from 1998-2002. I joined the University of Leicester to teach American literature and culture in the School of Arts in 2003. My main research area is twentieth-century North American fiction, especially from the post-WW2 period, but I have wide-ranging interests in American writing, film, popular music, and visual art of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. I have a special interest in how coming of age is represented in different media.
My PhD considered the impact of the First and Second World Wars on the poetry of H. D. (Hilda Doolittle) and Ezra Pound. My first academic publications were on H. D. and I continue to have an interest in American Modernism, especially poetry. My research on American fiction in the post-war period initially focused on J. D. Salinger, leading to major book projects. My future research in this area will be on short fiction by writers of Salinger’s generation, including Shirley Jackson, Carson McCullers, John Cheever and Richard Yates. Consistent areas of interest are representations of adolescence and the family in American fiction and film, which is connected to my work on the evolution of the Bildungsroman in America. I have also published research on contemporary fiction, looking in particular at the representation of gender and sexuality.
Editor, A History of the Bildungsroman (Cambridge University Press, 2019).
'Unfair Ground: Girlhood and Theme Parks in Contemporary Fiction', Journal of American Studies 47.3 (2013): 589-604.
'J. D. Salinger' in The Cambridge Companion to American Novelists, edited by Timothy Parrish (Cambridge University Press, 2013).
'Hymen and Trilogy', in The Cambridge Companion to H. D., edited by Polina Mackay and Nephie Christodoulides (Cambridge University Press, 2011).
'"See synonyms at MONSTER": En-Freaking Transgender in Jeffrey Eugenides's Middlesex', Ariel 40.4 (2009): 1-18.
Author, Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye (Continuum, 2007).
'Falling Walls: Trauma and Testimony in H. D.'s Trilogy', English 56:216 (2007): 299-319.
Editor, J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye (Routledge, 2007).
'"We have a secret. We are alive": H. D.'s Trilogy as a Response to War', Texas Studies in Literature and Language 44:2 (2002): 161-210.
I am Editor of the book series Studies in Contemporary North American Fiction published by Bloomsbury Academic.
I review regularly for the Times Literary Supplement.
I would be happy to offer supervision in any area related to my research interests, including representations of adolescence in fiction and film; J. D. Salinger and his contemporaries, such as John Cheever, Shirley Jackson, Richard Yates, Carson McCullers, and Truman Capote; representations of HIV/AIDS in written and visual culture.
Undergraduate modules I convene:
EN1005 American Literature in the Twenties and Thirties.
EN3038 Adolescence in American Fiction and Film.
EN3039 The Other in American Fiction and Film.
Undergraduate modules to which I contribute:
EN1002 Classic American Writing.
EN1070 Writing Matters.
EN2013 Diversity in Contemporary American Literature.
EN3340 Rewriting Britain from Windrush to Now.
A Movement: Modernism (MA in Modern & Contemporary Literature)
Press and media
J. D. Salinger; American Modernism; American fiction since WW2; coming of age texts; representations of HIV/AIDS.
University of Leicester (Distinguished) Teaching Fellow for promoting diversity in teaching and learning (2006).
University of Leicester Students' Union 'Superstar Award' for my commitment to LGBTQ students and issues.
BA Hons (Stirling)
Senior Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy/Advance HE