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Dr Megan Sormus

PhD in English Literature

Ph D_Student _Megan -SormusI returned to Northumbria in 2013 to complete an MA in English Literature. My MA dissertation analysed the unravelling of the family myth and the mythology of self-emergence in the work of Sylvia Plath and Sarah Kane. It was in this time that I developed a keen interest in contemporary women’s fiction and more specifically, the experience and construction of the female subject within this writing.

I began my PhD research in October 2014 after being awarded a full scholarship by Northumbria University, and successfully defended my thesis, titled 'Collage Grrrls: Reclaiming Contradictory Femininities in Anti-Chick Lit', in January 2018. My thesis focused on the emergence of anti-chick literature in contemporary women’s writing and defines anti-chick lit as a burgeoning brand of fiction that works to expose transgressive and challenging principles otherwise absent from popular writing directed at women. This is at the same time as being interwoven with the accepted themes of chick literature – a fashionable genre so prominent within popular culture.

My thesis uses the concept of the palimpsestuous as a framework with which to explore the complex interrelationship between anti-chick lit and chick lit texts. With this, I will contend that the stylistic designs of chick lit conceal the deeper, unconventional images and narratives of anti-chick literature. Moreover, I propose that anti-chick lit is a collage of the ‘cutesy’ and ‘frothy’ aspects of chick lit set alongside the emergence of its own ‘untamed’ and ‘unglossed’  nature.

Overall, my project aims to investigate new territory in terms of popular fiction directed at women in the way that it explores the arrival and consumption of an alternative brand of women’s writing. It also interrogates anti-chick literature’s relation to feminism and representations of femininity, the construction of the ‘Grrrl’, and female narrative voice.


PhD in English Literature 

MA in English Literature (Distinction)

BA in English Literature (2:1)


Dr Rosie White

Research Themes & Scholarly Interests

Feminist theory; Contemporary women’s writing; the Gothic; American literature. 

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