Dr Sarah Dillon, Faculty of English



Biographical Information

I read English at Clare College, Cambridge, graduating in 1998. I went on to gain an M.A. in Philosophy and Literature from the University of Warwick in 1999 and a D.Phil. in English from the University of Sussex in 2004. I taught at the University of St Andrews for eight years, from 2006-2014, first as a Lecturer and then Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Literature. I took up my current post as University Lecturer in Literature and Film in the English Faculty at Cambridge in 2014.

I am a member of the Faculty of English's Contemporaries research group and sit on the management committee of the interdisciplinary Cambridge Centre for Film and Screen. More widely, I am the General Editor of the book series Gylphi Contemporary Writers: Critical Essays and serve on the editorial boards of C21: Journal of Twenty-First Century Writing and Fantastika.

I am actively involved in public engagement and radio broadcasting. I was a BBC New Generation Thinker in 2013 and now present the Close Reading series on BBC Radio 4's literature programme Open Book, as well as the literary detective documentary Literary Pursuits on BBC Radio 3. Details of all my public and media activities can be found at www.drsarahdillon.com

Research Interests

I work in the interstices between literature, film and philosophy. My research interests lie in twentieth and twenty-first century British and American literature and film, and continental philosophy. I have published on a range of writers within this period, including Elizabeth Bowen, H.D., Maggie Gee, John Berger, Michel Faber and David Mitchell, and on contemporary films such as My Life Without Me (2003), Shall We Dance? (2004), and The First Sail (2011). My literary and film criticism is always strongly informed by relevant work in modern and contemporary continental philosophy, literary and film theory, and science. I am particularly interested in how we read, and in developing and performing theoretically informed close reading. Thematically, my areas of interest range across queer, feminist and ecocritical fields of concern, including questions of intimacy, love, gender, sexuality, and our relationship to the other (be it the human, animal, object or environmental other). I also work on the relationship between twentieth and twenty-first century science and literature, and on speculative and science fiction.

I am currently completing my second academic monograph, Queer Intimacies: Deconstruction ∩ Feminism ∩ Film, forthcoming in 2018. I am also developing a project on feminist science fiction film, and a collection of essays on reproduction in contemporary SF.

Areas of Graduate Supervision

I am currently supervising doctoral projects on: object intelligence in literary, popular and scientific writings of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; the representation of gender and sexual diversity in young adult fiction; and, the aestheticisation of failure in contemporary cultural theory and production. Whilst at St Andrews, I supervised PhDs on Ian McEwan and phenomenology; sex in contemporary literature; William Gibson and the gestalt; literature of the anthropocene; and contemporary dystopian fiction. I am interested in supervising graduate students working on twentieth and/or twentieth-first century literature and/or film who share any of my research interests and who combine close reading with theoretical literacy

Selected Publications

A full list of publications, including links to open access versions, journalism, reviews and radio broadcasts, can be found at www.drsarahdillon.com


Authored Books

Queer Intimacies: Deconstruction ∩ Feminism ∩ Film (forthcoming 2018).

The Palimpsest: Literature, Criticism, Theory (London: Continuum, 2007).


Edited Books and Journal Special Issues

‘Imagining Derrida’, Special Issue of Derrida Today 10:2 (forthcoming Nov 2017), ed. with John Schad.

Maggie Gee: Critical Essays, ed. with Caroline Edwards (Canterbury: Gylphi, 2015).

David Mitchell: Critical Essays, ed. (Canterbury: Gylphi, 2011).



‘Derrida and the Question of “Woman”’, in Derrida and Queer Theory, ed. Michael O’Rourke (Brooklyn: Punctum Books, forthcoming 2016).

'Literary Equivocation: Reproductive Futurism and The Ice People', in Maggie Gee: Critical Essays, ed. Sarah Dillon and Caroline Edwards (Canterbury: Glyphi, 2015), pp. 101-132.

'Beyond the Blue: The Sorrowful Joy of Gee', with Caroline Edwards, in Maggie Gee: Critical Essays, ed. Sarah Dillon and Caroline Edwards (Canterbury: Glyphi, 2015), pp. 1-29.

‘“Talking about the same questions but at another rhythm”: Deconstruction and Film’, in The First Sail: The Cinema of J. Hillis Miller, ed. Dragan Kujundzic (Open Humanities Press/University of Michigan Online Publications, 2015), pp. 86-101. Open access available here.

‘Cinematic Incorporation: Literature in My Life Without Me’, Film Philosophy 19 (2015): 55-66. Open access available here.

‘It is a Question of Words, Therefore’: Becoming-Animal in Michel Faber’s Under the Skin’, Science Fiction Studies 38:1 (2011), 134-54. Open access available here.

‘Chaotic Narrative: Complexity, Causality, Time and Autopoiesis in David Mitchell’s Ghostwritten’, Critique 52:2 (2011), 135-62. Open access version, and link to official publication, available here.

‘Introducing David Mitchell’s Universe: A Twenty-First Century House of Fiction’, in David Mitchell: Critical Essays, ed. Sarah Dillon (Canterbury: Gylphi, 2011), pp. 3-23.

‘Time for the Gift of Dance’ in Sex, Gender and Time in Literature and Culture, ed. Ben Davies and Jana Funk (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), pp. 109-131.

‘Imagining Apocalypse: Maggie Gee’s The Flood’, Contemporary Literature 48:3 (2007), 374-97.

‘Palimpsesting: Reading and Writing Lives in H.D.’s Palimpsest’, Critical Survey, Special Issue: Modernist Women Writers Using History, ed. Ann Heilmann and Mark Llewllyn, 19:1 (2007), 29-39. Open access version, and link to official publication, available here.

‘Life After Derrida: Anacoluthia and the Agrammaticality of Following’, Research in Phenomenology 36 (2006), 97-114. Open access version, and link to official publication, available here.

‘Re-inscribing De Quincey’s Palimpsest: The Significance of the Palimpsest in Contemporary Literary and Cultural Studies’, Textual Practice 19:3 (2005), 243-263.