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Dr Jayne Steel

Formerly at Lancaster University

Jayne Steel

Research Interests

Jayne Steel has a BA, an MA and a doctorate from Lancaster University. She is a lecturer in literary theory, film theory and screenwriting at Lancaster. Her current research interests are in representations of children within horror fiction and film, modern literary theories and film theories, especially those following psychoanalytical and postmodern perspectives. This is a considerable shift in direction from earlier research interests.

Jayne is currently working on a book addressing how and why the figure of the child is so prolific within the contemporary culture of horror fiction and film.

Formerly researching issues related to the Troubles within the North of Ireland, Jayne has published a book (2007) is entitled 'Demons, Hamlets and Femmes Fatales': Representations of the Irish Republican in Popular Fiction. Here, she argues that the Irish paramilitary Other is often a mirror image of the British Self.

She has also published with Irish Academic Press, Four Courts Press, Cork University Press, Journal of Psychoanalysis Culture and Society, Writing in Education, Irish Studies Review, Etudes Irlandaise and Myslexia. Her edited collection of essays titled Wordsmithery: The Writer's Craft and Practice was also published by Palgrave in 2006.

Her research concerning children and the horror genre has so far shown publications with Lexington Press, and Intellect Press.

Jayne is an active member of the Department's Contemporary Literature Research Group.

In terms of current research concerned with 'children in horror fiction and film', and how and why the figure of the child is so predominant in the horror genre, the history of this will traced through authors such as Henry James, Anne Rice, and Stephen King. Modern film adaptation will also be addressed alongside films such as The Exorcist, The Lovely Bones, and The Ring. The methodology will follow a psychoanalytical and cultural material approach to interrogate a wide range of texts and their psychological / material significance today.


Her work as a professional screenwriter has won several awards and her work has been shown at the Cannes Film Festival. Jayne's publications and awards include:

'Three Voices'. Short story commissioned for performance at Lancaster Literature Festival. 1998. 'Taking the Trauma Out of Creative Writing', Writing in Education (spring 2001) Mavis and the Mermaid: screenplay for Shoreline Films. Winner of 2000 'Kodak Showcase for New European Talent'. Shown at 2000 Cannes Film Festival and 2000 Edinburgh Film Festival. Screened in London, Los Angeles, Houston and Sweden. Short-listed for the 'Stella Artois Short Film Shoot-Out' and 'Writing on the Wall'. Won the coveted 'Special Gold Jury Award' at 2001 WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival'. Public showing of Story of the Sands at the Poetry Society in London (May 2001). Thereby Hangs A Tale: screenplay (2001). Winner of 2001 Third Annual DNA/Script Factory First Draft Award. 'The Trials of Death on the Rock' Irish Review 27 (Summer 2001). 'The Television Document and the Real', JPCS, 8.2 (Autumn 2003). 'And Behind Him A Wicked Hag Did Stalk' in Soldiers, New Women and Wicked Hags: Historical and Cultural Representations of Iris Nationalist Women (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2004).'Pyschologising the Private', in Representing The Troubles: Texts and Images, eds. Brian Cliff and Eibhear Walshe(Dublin: Four Courts, 2004). Frozen: Screenplay. Feature film. RS Productions (2004). Premiered at London Film Festival. 'Jayne Steel on How To Write Like Isabelle Allende', Myslexia (25: Spring, 2005), 49. Wordsmithery: The Writer's Craft and Practice (London: Palgrave, 2006). Demons, Hamlets and Femmes Fatales: Representations of Irish Republicanism in Popular Fiction (Oxford: Peter Land, 2007).

The week of 27 January-3rd February 2006 saw the release of Frozen, a film scripted by Jayne Steel and Juliet McKoen. Directed by Juliet McKeon, Frozen was the winner of eleven awards at International Film Festivals, including a Bafta Best Actress Award (Scotland) for Shirley Henderson, released on sixteen screens across the UK on Friday 27th January 2006. It centres on Kath, who, two years after the mysterious disappearance of her older sister, believes she has found a gateway to a place in which her sister is still alive. Set within the stark beauty of Morecambe Bay, Frozen is a story about unresolved loss and the inherent danger of hope turning into obsession. See http://www.frozenfilm.com.

Former postgraduate students: Lynne Crook, 'Contemporary Irish Comedy', MPhil/Ph.D, 2003-present (jointly with Lynne Pearce). Andrea Marcus, 'Protestant Women in Northern Ireland', MPhil/Ph.D, 2003-present (jointly with Lynne Pearce). Kim Wiltshire, 'The Figure of the 'Lad' in Contemporary Culture'. (jointly with Lynne Pearce).

Current postgraduate students: Susan Liddy, 'Representations of the Mature Woman in Film'.

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