"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars" - O.W.

Current Study

Recently Completed Study:
Ph.D thesis: "Mapping Planet Auschwitz: The Non-Mimetic in Anglo-American Fiction of the Holocaust"

Current Sub-Studies

Areas of Interest:
> Non-mimetic depictions of trauma
> literature, trauma, and ethics
> Science Fiction and Alternate History
> 20th and 21st century literature
> Comics
> Paratexts

12 March 2017

King's College London Speculations - 23rd March, 6pm

On the 23rd March I'll be a giving a talk as part of King's College London's new series of talks "Speculations". To be held at 6pm at K6.63 King's Building, Strand Campus, King's College London

My talk is entitled Blurred Lines: Interplay between Biography and the Fantastic in the Graphic Memoir

Comic books represent a narrative medium which fuses visual information with text in a manner very likely unique, certainly amongst commercial markets in the West. Perhaps because of their pulpish origins, and their recent history of writing themselves into literary respectability, comics and graphic novels have an unquestioned ease of association with speculative fiction and the fantastic. This presentation will examine a subset of texts which exploit this association by blending elements of the fantastic with the non-fiction of graphic memoir. These fictive breaks within otherwise realist narratives challenge traditional notions of biography and memoir and their necessary adherence to mimetic representation.

As such, these blurred narratives become especially useful when discussing experiences which challenge the limits of communicative narrative: trauma and ill mental health, as such this examination of fictive incursions will use examples from Steven Seagle’s It’s A Bird, Katie Green’s Lighter Than My Shadow and Paul Dini’s Dark Night, amongst others.


The talk is free to attend so if you're in the area please do come along.

I was invited to present my paper by the series organiser SinĂ©ad Murphy.

The facebook event for the talk is here.


'Speculations' engages in current research in speculative and science fiction, but with a particular interest in intersections across a spectrum of disciplines which engage in varieties of speculative thought.

'Speculations' is supported by the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at King's College London.

25 February 2017

A Conversation with V.E. Schwab (August 2016)

A Conjuring of Light, released 21.02.17
Disclosure: I got this copy free courtesy of Titan Books,
as I did with my copy of This Savage Song for the interview
A Conjuring of Light, the final book in V.E. Schwab's fantasy trilogy Darker Shade of Magic series has been released and I'm looking forward to diving into it. Victoria has also announced that following a bidding war the series has now been optioned by Sony, with Gerard Butler's production company G-BASE set to produce, the intention being to turn this colourful and exciting trio of books into a limited run series, with Victoria herself writing the pilot!

With all this going on, it seemed that it was the perfect time to finally get around to doing something with the audio recording I made when I interviewed Victoria for an event in Waterstones Liverpool in August 2016. I was asked to sit on the audio for a couple of months because we accidentally leaked some teeny details about the book cover for A Conjuring of Light which weren't supposed to be out in the world at that time, but then I got really busy finishing my thesis and all that entailed and so this audio just sat in on my hard drive for a while.
Interview in action
At some point I'll come back and transcribe the interview, and re-post it here, but in the meantime have a listen to the original audio. We mainly discuss the first book in another V.E. Schwab series This Savage Song as that was the book being toured at the time, but we also cover Darker Shade of Magic stuff, some Vicious stuff, and some other nice anecdotes. Overall it was a fun interview and Victoria was the perfect subject. Thanks again to her, Lydia at Titan Books, and Waterstones for making it happen.
Some of the audience in Waterstones Liverpool
NB - For now I've left the questions from the audience in the audio. Because we only had two mics it's almost impossible to hear the actual question so there are quiet pauses towards the end of the recording, but I paraphrase the questions where I can. Later I might come back and try to do something to improve the quality here if I can.