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About us

Illustration of MoomintrollMembers of the research and teaching team are all distinguished scholars who have taught the subject over many years to undergraduate, postgraduate, advanced diploma, masters and doctoral students. Between them, they have published many highly-regarded books, chapters, articles and literary guides, and many have influential roles on the national and international stage.


Maria Nikolajeva is the Director of the Centre and an internationally recognised children’s literature scholar. She has lectured extensively in five continents, is on the editorial boards of several international professional journals and has contributed innumerable books, essays and articles to the field. In 2005 she received the International Brothers Grimm Award for a lifetime achievement in children's literature research.


Teaching team and associates

Aneesh Barai's interests include modernism and children's literature, fantasy film, and ideas of place and space.

Blanka Grzegorczyk researches contemporary YA literature and politics, including postcolonialism and terrorism.

Georgina Horrell specialises in postcolonial criticism.

Zoe Jaques' interests include posthuman theory, ecocriticism and gender.

Fiona Maine teaches PGCE students and researches children's responses to visual and digital media.

Debbie Pullinger researches in poetry, with interests in cognitive poetics and digital texts.

David Whitley researches in the area of film and poetry, and has a special interest in ecocriticism.

Mary Anne Wolpert teaches PGCE students and is especially interested in picturebooks.

PhD students and research topics

PhD students discussing their work

Jen Aggleton - Exploring children's responses to illustrations in novels.

Michelle Anya Anjirbag - Cross-period approaches to gender and agency in fairy-tale adaptations and fantasy.

Phoebe Chen - Ecocriticism and science fiction.

Nard Choi - Exploring Tanzanian students' literary experiences in school library spaces.

Katy Day - Cognitive approaches to feminist fantasy.

Meghanne Flynn - Supernatural romance in adolescent literature.

Aline Frederico - Digital picturebooks.

Clare Freeman - Young readers' engagement with fiction.

Sarah Hardstaff - Political agency in literature for young people.

Nicol Hilton - Coming of age in Patrick Ness's YA fiction using narrative theory.

Chris Hussey - Representations of London in children's literature.

Lisa Kazianka - Depictions of masculinities in contemporary Arthurian narratives for children.

Madison McLeod - London as a posthuman location in contemporary Young Adult fantasy fiction.

Maggie Meimaridi - Talking animals in children's literature.

Catherine Olver - The five senses and the mastery of nature in YA fantasy.

Siddharth Pandey - Craftsmanship and materiality in fantasy fiction.

Anna Purkiss - Young readers' perceptions of disability in contemporary children's literature.

Emma Reay - The poetics and aesthetic power of children's video games.

Anna Savoie - Adolescent empathy responses to minority young adult literature.

Angela Schill - Deaf characters in children's fiction.

Richard Shakeshaft - The role of technology in young adult fiction.

Tyler Shores - Attention span, distraction, and reading novels on tablets.

Julia Wang - Multiverses in adolescent fantasy using spatiality.

Amy Webster - Publishers' selection, abridgement and re-illustration of books in series of children's classics.

Maya Zakrzewska-Pim - Adaptations of Charles Dickens for children.

Xiangyi Zha - Children's cognitive responses to metaleptic picturebooks.

Quotation from Jennings