English Research

English and Creative Writing Research

English staff at Lincoln are currently undertaking a diverse range of research that spans the medieval to the contemporary. There are particular strengths in nineteenth century studies (including ageing), twenty-first century literature, gothic literature, women’s writing, gender studies and American literature. Creative Writing staff are highly productive as authors of forms including fiction, poetry, graphic novel, and plays, and in genres including dystopian literature, fantasy, and crime fiction.

English also hosts two vibrant and productive research groups - 21st Century Research Group and The Nineteenth-Century Research Group

Find out more about each academic's research specialisms below:

Professor Lucie Armitt

Professor Lucie Armitt is Chair of Contemporary English Literature at the University of Lincoln. She is a specialist in the Gothic, contemporary women's writing, and all areas of the literary fantastic, including magic realism and the ghost story. She is an Advisory Board member of the award-winning journal Contemporary Women's Writing (OUP) and of Extrapolation (Liverpool University Press). She was a founding Executive Board member and Treasurer of the global research network the Contemporary Women's Writing Association. Her most recent book is Fantasy (Routledge 2020). She is currently completing a co-authored book (with Scott Brewster) titled Climates of Fear: Gothic Travel through Haunted Landscapes (2022). She supervises PhD students working in all these areas.


Dr Scott Brewster

Dr Scott Brewster’s research interests lie in Gothic literature, the ghost story, Irish Studies and psychoanalysis. He is co-author (with Lucie Armitt) of Climates of Fear: Gothic Travel through Haunted Landscapes (2022), and is currently writing (with Jeffrey A. Weinstock) An Introduction to the American Ghost Story (Routledge 2022). He is co-editor (with Luke Thurston) of The Routledge Handbook to the Ghost Story (2017). Previous publications include Lyric (Routledge, 2009), Irish Literature Since 1990: Diverse Voices (MUP, 2009), Inhuman Reflections: Thinking the Limits of the Human (MUP, 2000) and Ireland in Proximity: History, Gender, Space (Routledge, 1999). He is an Editorial Board member of Gothic Nature, and is a member of the British Association for Irish Studies (BAIS) Advisory Council.


Dr Owen Clayton

Dr Owen Clayton is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Lincoln. His specialism is late nineteenth and early-twentieth century transatlantic literature, with particular research interests in the representation of vagrancy and homelessness, and the relationship between literature and photography. Owen is currently working on his second monograph, provisionally entitled Vagabonds, Tramps, and Hobos: the Literature and Culture of American Transiency. His first monograph, Literature and Photography in Transition, 1850-1915, came out with Palgrave MacMillan in 2015.

Dr Alice Crossley

Dr Alice Crossley's research interests lie in nineteenth century literature, with an emphasis on three main areas: ageing, gender (especially masculinity), and material culture (particularly printed ephemera). Her recent publications include the monograph Male Adolescence in Mid-Victorian Fiction (Routledge 2018), special issues on ‘Age and Gender’ for Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies (2017) and – co-edited with Dr Amy Culley - on ‘Narratives of Aging in the Nineteenth Century’ for Age, Culture, Humanities (2021), as well as numerous articles and book chapters on childhood, adolescence, old age, sexuality, and gender in the nineteenth century. She’s currently working on a new book, Old Fashioning: Ageing Masculinity in Western Fiction, 1830-1930. Alice also writes on Victorian valentines. She’s Secretary of the British Association for Victorian Studies (BAVS).


Dr Amy Culley

Dr Amy Culley's research interests lie in the literature and culture of the eighteenth century and Romantic period, particularly life writing, ageing studies, and women’s literary history. She is currently working on her second book (funded by a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship 2020), ‘On Growing Old: Women’s Late Life Writing 1800-1850’ which recovers narratives of ageing in journals, correspondence, memoirs, and biographies by early nineteenth-century women in both manuscript and print. She is the author of British Women’s Life Writing, 1760-1840: Friendship, Community, and Collaboration (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), co-editor (with Daniel Cook) of Women's Life Writing 1700-1850: Gender, Genre and Authorship (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), and co-editor (with Anna Fitzer) of Editing Women's Writing, 1670-1840 (Routledge, 2017).   

Dr Christopher Dows 

Dr Christopher Dows's professional portfolio includes fifteen years as a comic book writer, leading to him being published worldwide across a wide range of genres and focusing his research on the writing of science fiction and fantasy. A contributor to The Official Star Trek Magazine for over fifteen years, he has also authored a YA fantasy novel, Panthea, and the second world war drama Lokomotive. Recently, Chris has been working for Games Workshop's 'Black Library Press'; in addition to over a dozen short stories and the novel Kharn: The Red Path, he now specialises in audio dramas, including the Elysia trilogy and the critically-acclaimed Titans' Bane. 2021 will see the publication of his first short story collection.

Dr Laura Gill

Dr Laura Gill's research interests lie in the literature and visual culture of the long nineteenth century, from Romanticism to the Victorian period. Her current projects focus on influence and interdisciplinarity in the long nineteenth century: she is working on a book on the influence of John Milton on Victorian literature and visual culture. She is also developing work on gender, passivity and resistance in literature, painting and photography of the long nineteenth century. 

Dr Ruth Hawthorn

Dr Ruth Hawthorn’s research lies in modern and contemporary American Literature; she has particular interests in detective fiction, post-WWII poetry (especially the Elegy), counter-cultures, and the literature of Los Angeles. She is currently completing a study of American detective fiction for the BAAS Paperbacks series with Edinburgh University Press, co-editing a collection on animals in detective fiction for Palgrave’s Animals and Literature series (with John Miller, University of Sheffield) and has published an article in the Journal of American Studies: ‘Delinquent Dogs and the Molise Malaise: Negotiating Suburbia in John Fante’s “My Dog Stupid”’. She is also a regular contributor to PN Review.


Dr Sue Healy

Dr Sue Healy holds a PhD from the University of Lincoln in modern theatre history (specialism: the Royal Court Theatre). She serves as Literary Manager at the Finborough Theatre, London, and is an award-winning writer; and a playwright whose work has been produced, broadcast, and staged.

Dr Amy Lilwall

Dr Amy Lilwall, lecturer in Creative Writing, is interested in dystopian fiction and is the author of The Biggerers, a domestic dystopia published by Point Blank in 2018. Amy has written for LithubThe Literary Platform, the NAWE magazine, Short Fiction in Theory & Practice and New Writing. Currently, Amy is a lead contributor to On The Hill, an award-winning podcast about the history of Falmouth cemetery. 

Dr Guy Mankowski

Dr Guy Mankowski is the author of critically acclaimed novels (on subjects such as ballet and crime) and the forthcoming non-fiction collection Albion's Secret History: Snapshots of England's Pop Rebels and Outsiders which considers English musicians, films, artists, and television. He has been invited to offer expert commentary on BBC Radio, for television, in university panel discussions, and at literary arts festivals on the research subjects of his novels. He has research interests in self-design (particularly in post-punk, Riot Grrrl and Kinderwhore), JG Ballard and psychoanalysis and he welcomes postgraduate students in those areas. 

Dr Christopher Marlow

Dr Christopher Marlow’s research deals primarily with Shakespeare and early modern literature. He also works on critical theory, science fiction, and contemporary culture. He is the author of Shakespeare and Cultural Materialist Theory (The Arden Shakespeare, 2017) and Performing Masculinity in English University Drama 1598-1636 (Ashgate, 2013). He has published widely in journals including Shakespeare Studies, Critical Survey, Restoration, and The Journal of Popular Culture.

Daniele Pantano

Daniele Pantano is a poet, essayist, and literary translator. He is the author or translator of more than twenty books, including Dogs in Untended Fields: Selected Poems (Èditions d’en Bas, 2020), Kindertotenlieder: Collected Early Essays & Letters & Confessions (Hesterglock Press, 2019), Robert Walser: Comedies (Seagull Books, 2018), ORAKL (Black Lawrence Press, 2017), and Robert Walser’s Fairy Tales: Dramolettes (New Directions, 2015). His individual poems and essays appear widely and have been translated into a dozen languages. Pantano is interested in receiving proposals for postgraduate projects on any themes related to contemporary poetry and poetics, literary translation (practice and theory), and translingualism.  

Catherine Redpath

Catherine’s current areas of interest are principally in the field of literary trauma studies. She is also interested in post-apocalyptic literature, film and television, particularly the ways in which this genre reacts and responds to contemporary anxieties. As Director of Teaching and Learning for the School of English and Journalism, she is also very interested in pedagogies of teaching and learning and researches widely in this area. 

Dr Kristian Shaw

Dr Kristian Shaw specialises in contemporary British and American literature. His first monograph, Cosmopolitanism in Twenty-First Century Fiction (Palgrave, 2017) was funded by the AHRC. Shaw's second monograph is entitled BrexLit (Bloomsbury 2021) - a term he coined in 2016 to describe cultural responses to Brexit. He is currently editing three collections: Kazuo Ishiguro (MUP 2021), Hari Kunzru (MUP 2021), and Contextualising the Contemporary (Bloomsbury 2021). He serves as a reader for the C21 Literature journal and sits on the executive committee of BACLS (British Association for Contemporary Literary Studies). 


Dr Peter Sloane 

Dr Peter Sloane’s research is predominantly in postmodernist fictions and beyond. His first monograph, David Foster Wallace and the Body (Routledge 2019), explores Wallace's career-long fascination with embodiment. His second monograph, Kazuo Ishiguro's Gestural Poetics (Bloomsbury 2021) places Ishiguro's writing in a continuum of experimental fictions, uncovering the radical nature of his seemingly conventional prose. Peter’s current book project is titled Altruism and the Arts, exploring instances of kindness in literature, film, and theatre.

Dr Sarah Stovell

Dr Sarah Stovell writes contemporary women's fiction. Her most recent novel, Other Parents, is an examination of small-town British life, dealing with issues of class divisions, sexuality and parenthood. She has been compared to Liane Moriarty and Celeste Ng for pushing the boundaries of commercial women's fiction with narratives that veer away from the accepted tropes of the genre and are 'genuinely intelligent and full dark wit.' Sarah is published by HarperCollins.

Dr Rebecca Styler

Dr Rebecca Styler’s researches women’s writing and religion in the long nineteenth century. This includes religious feminism, women’s spiritual auto/biography, and the spiritual symbolism of childhood. Since her first monograph, Literary Theology by Women Writers of the Nineteenth Century, she has published on writers including Elizabeth Gaskell, Anna Jameson, Charlotte Brontë, and Josephine Butler. She recently edited volume 1: Traditions in Routledge’s 4-volume series Nineteenth-Century Religion, Literature and Society. She is currently writing a book The Maternal Divine Image in Victorian Literature, and is Editor of the Gaskell Journal.

Dr Renée Ward

Dr Renée Ward's main research interests are medieval literature, and medievalism. Her medieval work focuses primarily on romance and outlaw narratives, with particular attention to monsters, representations of otherness, and Robin Hood. Her post-medieval work explores medievalism in children’s and young adult literature from the nineteenth century to the present. She has published on Middle English romances, and on the medievalism of Victorian children’s writer E. L. Hervey, and she co-edits the journal The Year's Work in Medievalism. Her current projects include a monograph study on werewolves in medieval French, Latin, and Middle English romance; a co-edited volume on medieval and post-medieval Arthuriana; and studies of E. L. Hervey’s Arthurian text, The Feasts of Camelot (1863). She welcomes applications from potential postgraduate students wishing to pursue research in medieval literature (particularly late medieval) and modern medievalism.

Dr Robert Paul Weston 

Dr Robert Paul Weston is the author of several internationally award-winning novels for children and young adults, including Dust CityBlues for ZoeyZorgamazoo, and the multimedia novel The Creature Department, written in collaboration with the special effects firm, Framestore (Guardians of the GalaxyBlade Runner 2049). His books have won the California Young Reader Medal, the Children’s Choice Award, German Audio Book of the Year and others, and been translated into multiple languages, including French, German, Portuguese, Chinese and Turkish. His works have also been optioned for film adaptation by 20th Century Fox and Vanguard Animation. His short fiction has appeared in literary journals on both sides of the Atlantic, including The New Orleans ReviewPostscriptsOn SpecEastlit, and been nominated for the Journey Prize and the Fountain Award for Speculative Literature.


Dr Jason Whittaker 

Professor Jason Whittaker's main research interests are the reception of William Blake in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, as well as developments in digital publishing and the impact of technology on journalism. He has published widely on these subjects, as well as on magazine journalism more generally.

Research Projects 

Here are just a few examples of research our academic staff are currently involved in:

A [Socially Isolated] Room of One’s Own: Women Writing Lockdown

Principal Investigator: Professor Lucie Armitt

Co-Investigators: Professor Krista Cowman (University of Leicester)

                          Professor Sarah Pedersen (Robert Gordon University)

Project Partner:   Liv Tor, artist practitioner

A [Socially Isolated] Room of One’s Own: Women Writing Lockdown is an AHRC-funded multi-disciplinary project, running for 18 months from 1 January 2022- 30th June 2023. It seeks to investigate women’s articulation of their experience of the first phase of lockdown expressed through four key varieties of auto/biographical writings: Published work by professional women writers, including fiction, poetry and writing for children; newly deposited archival testimonies in collections such as Mass Observation and the British Library Sound Archive; Online narratives by bloggers and influencers; Creative work produced as part of our project partner’s live workshops (in-person and via Zoom).

The project’s major collective output will be an online, free-to-access exhibition, Rooms of Our Own: The Lockdown House. It will be formulated as a ‘House and Garden’ virtual space that will offer visitors an accessible visual presentation of our main findings. Each room will represent a key aspect of women’s experience of lockdown (the home schoolroom; the home office, the ‘new domesticity’ space of the kitchen; the lockdown garden). The exhibition will be hosted via our purpose-designed project website. In addition to visual representation, the ‘rooms’ will contain summaries of research findings with links to pages showcasing the fuller work where possible. They will also house the co-production outputs produced as part of the project workshops undertaken by the project partner.

On Growing Old: Women’s Late Life Writing 1800-1850 

Principal Investigator: Dr Amy Culley

Dr Amy Culley received a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship (2020) and BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grant (2015-) in support of her research project, ‘On Growing Old: Women’s Late Life Writing 1800-1850’. The research recovers narratives of ageing in journals, correspondence, memoirs, and biographies by early nineteenth-century women in both manuscript and print. These sources provide rare insights into women’s ageing in a period in which gender and old age is currently under-researched and that has important legacies for contemporary conceptions of late life. As part of this research, Culley co-convened two international conferences: a British Academy Conference, ‘Narratives of Old Age and Gender’ (London, 2019) and ‘Narratives of Ageing in the Nineteenth Century’ (Lincoln, 2019), both of which have resulted in journal special issues (for Age, Culture, Humanities (2021) and Journal of the British Academy (2023)). The research has generated impact through participation in the AHRC’s Being Human: A Festival of the Humanities (2016) and the Lincoln Book Festival (2018), a public workshop funded by the British Academy drawing on archival research (2018), and collaborations with Age UK and National Pensioners Convention.

Representing Homelessness

Principal Investigator: Dr Owen Clayton

Dr Owen Clayton received a British Academy Conference Grant to hold a conference on Representing Homelessness, which took place at the University of Lincoln in the summer of 2019. The event was distinctive in featuring both scholars and people with experience of homelessness as providing different types of expertise. The conference emphasised the importance of bringing in the voices of homeless people into academic research, including as co-producers of that research. Attendee feedback indicates that the event provided an important platform for speakers with experience of homelessness, and also that it changed the minds of several people with responsibility for homelessness services about needing to take the agency of their clients more into account. The event has also been cited in national media coverage regarding the ongoing campaign to repeal the 1824 Vagrancy Act. The conference led to the publication in 2020 of an edited collection, also called Representing Homelessness, published by Oxford University Press.