Literature, Science and Environment: Current and Recent Doctoral Researchers

Sally Blackburn Liverpool PhD

Sally Blackburn

My research is concerned with unearthing the remains of scientific influence in the works of late Victorian, early Modernist Vernon Lee (1856-1935). Particular areas of interest include geology, geography and archaeology; evolution and evolutionary ethics; and psychology and mnemonics.

Sean Hewitt University of Liverpool

Sean Hewitt

I am currently in my final year of a PhD at the Institute of Irish Studies. My research explores the works of the Irish Revival dramatist and travel writer J.M. Synge (1871-1909). I am particularly interested in the ways in which Irish Revivalists negotiate ideas of mysticism, Romanticism and spirituality in response to scientific, social and political modernisation. My next project focuses on natural history in Irish literature and culture between 1880-1921, with particular reference to the works of Emily Lawless, J.M. Synge and Seumas O'Sullivan.

Philippa Holloway

I am a funded doctoral candidate in Creative Writing at Edge Hill University. My thesis comprises a novel which examines perceptions of nuclear power and nuclear anxiety in relation to landscapes shaped by nuclear energy production, and a critical exegesis examining psychogeographic practice within nuclear landscapes. I am particularly interested in the way multimedia narratives of Chernobyl differ from lived experience of the contemporary landscape of the Exclusion Zone, and the politics of land use in UK nuclear power programmes. The novel focuses on the Wylfa and Chernobyl Nuclear Power Stations and research has included spending time in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, meeting the Samosely (self-settlers), and extensive photography to create a textural map of the landscape as a personal resource for the writing process. I have worked collaboratively with visual and multimedia artists, and curated a special feature for the New Welsh Reader which explored artistic responses to Wylfa Nuclear Power station and its immediate landscape. My short fiction is published widely across the world.

Sarah Hymas

I am a poet currently completing a PhD in creative writing, working alongside members of Liverpool's Centre for New and International Writing. My current research focuses on lyric depictions of the ocean in the work of Jorie Graham and others, and explores the relationship between the ecological and the cultural, and between place and identity.

Bernadette McBride

I am a writer and social advocate. My book ROOTS: THE ECO-JOURNAL, was published in 2018, and I recently won the Liverpool Guild 2019 award for the ‘Biggest Impact on the City of Liverpool’ for my green-creative writing workshops.

My doctoral research is funded by the John Lennon Memorial Scholarship and focuses on a critical study of climate change in short fiction. The creative component is a cli-fi (climate fiction) short story collection. In both her creative and critical work, I am particularly interested in fiction that resits the dystopian and post-apocalyptic modes that have been dominant. I am also interested in the connection and disconnection with the natural environment – an area of my research which has crossed over into public engagement via my social enterprise Hedge Arts, backed by the University of Liverpool Green Guild.

As well as being published in paperback, magazines and online journals, I am currently working on an autofiction novel Dark Bay. I am also a qualified expressive arts therapist, having completed my PCEAT certificate in 2019, and all my work is rooted in the creative connection and a person-centred approach to teaching.

Chris Pak

Chris Pak

I am the editor of the Science Fiction Research Association's SFRA Review, the publication of the oldest international organisation for the study of science fiction. My research interests lie in the Environmental Humanities, the Digital Humanities, Science and Technology Studies and the Medical Humanities. My book, Terraforming: Ecopolitical Transformations and Environmentalism in Science Fiction, was published by Liverpool University Press in 2016. More information can be found on my website,

Kahrie Carter

Kahrie Carter

I am in the first year of my PhD in the Department of English at the University of Liverpool. My research focuses on how cancer is portrayed as an individuated disease within literature from the beginning to the end of the nineteenth century. In 2020, I was awarded both the Joseph Rotblat Scholarship for my PhD studies and the Kenneth Allott Award for best Master’s nineteenth-century dissertation at my university. I have been the student chair of the Staff-Student Liaison Committee for the English Department and the Senate Representative for the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Liverpool.