Workshop Presenters’ biographies

Aoife Byrne

PhD Candidate, Department of English, University of Cambridge.

Kay Waddilove

Kay Waddilove has been Head of Learning Resources at a large London comprehensive school since 2002, following a career in public libraries and education. Having completed a BA in English Literature and History at Cardiff University, she obtained an MA in Children’s Literature from the University of Roehampton in 2008. She is currently researching for a PhD in Children’s Literature.

Kay is interested in both the practical and theoretical aspects of literature for young people and works with national and international programmes to promote reading for teenagers. She has published articles in the Journal of Children’s Literature, IBBYLink and Bookbird, and contributed chapters on authors Penelope Lively and Jacqueline Wilson to critical works on children’s literature. Her research interests include 20th century post-war children’s literature, in particular domestic novels and historical writing. Previous research work has focused on gender issues in children’s texts, especially as these relate to representations of family life, parenthood, working life and the position of women in society.

Sinead Moriarty

In January 2013 Sinead Moriarty began studying towards a PhD in Children’s Literature at Roehampton University. Her current research seeks to examine the representation of wilderness and wild spaces in British and Irish children’s literature, focusing on two case study landscapes: Antarctica and Ireland. Sinead’s interest in children’s literature developed through her undergraduate degree in English and Film Studies at Trinity College, Dublin, and more recently with the completion of the M.A. in Children’s Literature at Roehampton University. Her broad areas of interest are landscape, and cultural and personal identity in literature for children.

Simone Herrmann

Simone Herrmann is a first year PhD candidate in the research project “Canon Formation and Social Imaginaries in British Fiction for Children and Young Adults” under the supervision of Prof Dr Anja Müller at the University of Siegen (Germany). She has furthermore studied theatre and performance studies as well as women in Islam at the University of Leeds (UK). With her Master’s degree at the University of Siegen in “Literature, Culture and Media” of the anglophone world and her MA thesis on “Individual, Society and Civilisation in Three Contemporary British Robinsonades” she has developed a research interest in children’s literature, historical as well as modern, but also focuses on fantastical literature, the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century novel, (Neo-)Victorianism and Shakespearean drama.

Devjani Ray

After completeing MPhil in Russian studies from Jawaharlal Nehru Univerisity, New Delhi, India, I have been teaching literature for the last seven years at the Department of English, Miranda House, University of Delhi, India. Currently, I am working on my doctoral dissertation on Bengali children’s periodicals in colonial Bengal (1885-1920). My areas of interest include writings for children in Bengali,nationalism and print culture in India, and postcolonial literature.

At present I am affiliated to the Department of English, Miranda House, University of Delhi, India as a permanent faculty member and pursuing my Ph.D from the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, India.

Karen Williams

Karen Williams studied English Literature at Somerville College, Oxford before embarking upon a career in industry. Upon returning to academia in 2010 she undertook a Masters Degree in Children’s Literature within the National Centre for Research in Children’s Literature at Roehampton University.  She is currently in her second year of Doctoral study at Roehampton, where the title of her research is ‘Humour in Children’s Literature 1800-1840’.  She has given several papers on early nineteenth-century children’s literature and has a forthcoming publication on Ecocriticism and contemporary children’s literature in Melvin Burgess: A New Casebook. Ed. Alison Waller. London: Palgrave MacMillan, forthcoming 2013.

Sarah Hardstaff

Sarah Hardstaff is an MPhil student in Children’s Literature at the University of Cambridge. Her MPhil thesis explores the themes of poaching and scavenging in young adult hunger fiction, with a focus on Cynthia Voigt’s Homecoming and the first novel in Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Gamestrilogy.

Helen Day

Helen Day is Senior Lecturer in Children’s Literature at the University of Central Lancashire and Course Leader of the MA Writing for Children. Her most recent publication is ‘Simulacra, Sacrifice and Survival in The Hunger Games, Battle Royale, and The Running Man’ in Of Bread, Blood and The Hunger Games (MacFarland Press). She is currently working on lying and unreliable narrators in young adult fiction, exploring the difference between unreliable narrators and those who admit to lying to the reader. This involves blending work on lying from linguistics, psychology and sociology as well as blending cognitive stylistics and literary theory.

Zahra Amlani

Currently completing Master of Education (Critical Approaches to Children’s Literature) at The University of Cambridge. Due to start PhD in October 2013.

This work will inform my PhD thesis which is a a rally cry against the marginalisation of children’s informational texts. There currently exists a knowledge deficit in understanding the importance of children’s information texts and how children transact with them. I am interested in strategies of the text and am considering how textand illustrations work together and my corpus will include digital texts and apps. Nonfiction texts create a place for the child to pause. A place to contemplate, to reflect and make sense of the bewildering reading experience from where the child can move forward. Nonfiction texts embody this process through their ability to allow children to set their own pace. In this way nonfiction texts are not an end but a portal and warrant further investigation.

Gili Bar-Hillel

MA candidate at Child and Youth Culture program, Tel Aviv University (expected completion 2014).

Franziska Burstyn

Franziska Burstyn is a first year PhD candidate in the research project Canon Formation and Social Imaginaries in British Fiction for Children and Young Adults under the supervision of Anja Müller at the University of Siegen (Germany). She has been lecturing undergraduate courses on English literature at Leipzig University and the University of Siegen. She studied English and Theatre Studies at the University of Leipzig (Germany) and Roehampton University. Her academic interests are centered on children’s and young adult literature, folklore culture and food in literature. Her publications include articles in the field of children’s literature as well as a monograph about the land of plenty in children’s literature: The Myth of Cokaygne in Children’s Literature – The Consuming and the Consumed Child. Arbeiten zur Literarischen Phantastik. Vol. 6. Edited by Elmar Schenkel and Alexandra Lembert. Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 2011.

Pat Pinsent

Pat Pinsent is Senior Research Fellow at Roehampton University, specialising in Children’s Literature, the subject matter of most of her fifteen books. She researches the current development of children’s literature, and the relationship between it and spirituality/religion; she also edits a journal on feminism and religion, Network.

Vasiliki Labitsi

Dr Vasiliki Labitsi is Educational Advisor in Greek primary schools and a children’s book illustrator. She has MA Degrees in Art, Craft and Design Education and in Children’s Literature from the University of Surrey, Roehampton and a PhD Degree completed in the same University. She has taught art education in the Preschool Departments of the Universities of Athens and the Aegean and has been elected as a lecturer in the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Her research interests include children’s artistic development and learning, the visual aspects of children’s literature, curriculum development and school transitions.

Rebecca Long

My name is Rebecca Long and I am a graduate of Trinity College Dublin where I read English as an undergraduate. I graduated with a First Class Honours Degree in 2010. In April of 2013 I graduated from the college’s inaugural M.Phil in Children’s Literature with a Distinction. I am hoping to begin a PhD in Irish Children’s Literature in September of this year.

Abstracts to follow shortly! 


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