I was born in Aberdeenshire and studied English Literature and Mathematics at the University of Glasgow, where I was awarded the Lorimer Bursary, Dougall Prize, and Chalk Prize. I did a PhD on twentieth-century and contemporary literature at Royal Holloway, University of London, funded by the Thomas Holloway Research Studentship. My doctoral thesis, ‘Language and the Human: Linguistic Innovation in Science Fiction’ examined authorial experimentation with language and linguistics in science fiction, arguing that linguistic innovation is used in the genre to explore the limitations of the human and the boundaries between human and alien. During my PhD, I received funding to spend a year at the University of California, Riverside, where I conducted research in the Eaton Collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy and studied in the Comparative Literature programme.
Post-PhD, I completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Skills of Teaching to Inspire Learning at Royal Holloway, and taught in the English departments at Liverpool John Moores University and Edge Hill University. I was awarded the Science Fiction Foundation Travel Grant to develop my doctoral work for publication, and published articles in Extrapolation and Science Fiction Studies. During and after my doctorate I worked as a support worker for disabled students in higher education, and this led to a new research focus on disability in literature, especially popular and genre fiction. In 2009, I was offered a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Disability Studies at Liverpool Hope University, and in 2010 I became a Lecturer in Disability Studies and Deputy Director of the Centre for Culture and Disability Studies. In 2013 I moved to the English department at Liverpool Hope, where I was a Lecturer for two years.
I have published on genre fiction and disability in the Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies, Journal of Modern Literature, and Disability in Science Fiction, ed. Kathryn Allan. I also guest-edited a special issue of the Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies, ‘Popular Genres and Disability Representation’, which was published in 2012. (See the publications page for more detailed information.) In 2012 I gave a keynote address at the Culture, Disability, Theory: Encounters between Disability Studies and Cultural Studies conference at the University of Cologne, as well as invited talks at the disability arts festival DaDaFest, and at the University of Leeds Centre for Medical Humanities. I’m currently Lecturer in Disability Studies at Liverpool Hope University, where I research and teach contemporary literature, genre fiction, and the representation of disability, health and illness.