Heather Milligan

Thesis title: Creatures, Colonies, and the Collective: Unsettling Agency in Contemporary EcoGothic Fiction


MSt English (1900-present), University of Oxford, 2019

MA (Hons) English Literature, University of Edinburgh, 2018

Responsibilities & affiliations

Reader, James Tait Black Prize for Fiction (2021, 2022)

Fiction Editor, Epilogue Magazine (2019–)

Member, Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment



Research summary

My doctoral research on the 'ecoGothic' brings together contemporary Gothic fiction with recent work in the environmental humanities on climate collapse, deep time, and extractivism. The thesis considers the capacities of the twenty-first-century novel to address environmental crises, using the Gothic's preoccupations with history, inheritance, and resurgent temporalities to explore the historical and political dimensions of collapse. 

Current research interests

20th- and 21st-century fiction, ecocriticism, climate collapse, non-linear temporality, resistance narratives, the EcoGothic

Current project grants

Carnegie PhD Scholarship (2020-2023)

Past project grants

The Cross Trust (2019)
Scottish International Education Trust (2019)
The McGlashan Trust (2019)
The Acorn Trust (2019)
David Masson Scholarship, University of Edinburgh (2018)
Santander Travel Award, University of Edinburgh (2018)

Conference details

September 2022 – (Upcoming) Presenting paper 'Queer Ecology and Environmental Time in K-Ming Chang's Bestiary'. ASLE-UKI Biennial Conference, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, 6–8 September 2022.

June 2022 – Presented paper ‘“Nothing is proved, nothing is known”: The Ethics of Virginia Woolf’s Scepticism’. 31st Annual International Conference on Virginia Woolf. Lamar University, Texas (online), 9–12 June 2022. 

August 2021 – Presented paper ‘“The totality of this mid-Collapse condition”: The Plurality of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy’. EmergencE/Y: ASLE Virtual Conference, 26 July–6 August 2021.