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Dr Leah Phillips

Senior Lecturer

School of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

01752 636700 Ext:7116

Leah Phillips

Role Summary

Leah is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and the Programme Lead for the BA English and the MA Literature for Children and Young Adults.


Her research broadly focuses on how YA fiction impacts its readers’ lives, especially marginalised individuals and groups. Leah recently finished revisions on her first monograph, Female Heroes in Young Adult Fantasy Fiction: Reframing Myths of Adolescent Girlhood. It’ll be out with Bloomsbury in January.


At the University, Leah teaches on the BA and MA programmes. She is also a member of the Sustainability, Creativity, and Innovation Research Group.


Away from the university, Leah undertakes a range of work in children’s literature and YA studies. In 2020, she founded the YA Studies Association (YASA), an international organisation existing to increase the knowledge of and research on YA literature, media, and related fields. She also serves on the Children’s Literature Association’s Phoenix Committee and sits on the International Journal of Young Adult Literature’s Editorial Board.


Please reach out to her with any questions about either the BA in English or the MA in Literature for Children and Young Adults. She’ll also always happily talk about books, plants and cats.


PhD English and Comparative Literary Studies, University of Warwick

MA (Res) Children’s Literature, University of Reading

BA (Hons) Humanities, with an Emphasis in Literature, The Open University


Her undergraduate degree also included work at The University of Tennessee in Chattanooga, Chattanooga State Community College, and The University of Leeds.


Leah teaches a range of modules on the BA and MA programs, including Literature that Shook the World, Literary Theory, Literature at the Vanguard, Research Design, and Opening Stories. She also supervises MA dissertations.


Leah’s primary research focuses on contemporary Western culture's constructions and representations of adolescent girlhood. In her forthcoming monograph, she argues that mainstream Western culture disenfranchises girls by insisting on a very narrow and limiting way of being (that looks and acts a lot like Walt Disney’s Cinderella) but that mythopoeic YA, a genre of YA speculative fiction, offers an alternative and inclusive model of what it means to be a girl by including, instead of excluding the fleshy material body.


She is also interested in the impact of YA fiction in the lives of its readers (of whatever age).



Female Heroes in Young Adult Fantasy Fiction: Reframing Myths of Adolescent Girlhood, Bloomsbury, 2022.

Refereed Articles and Chapters

“Ploughing the Field: Expanding Disciplinary Boundaries”, with Emily Corbett, International Journal of Young Adult Literature, (3)1, 2022

“Ploughing the Field: YA in Translation”, with Emily Corbett, International Journal of Young Adult Literature, (2)1, 2021

Ploughing the Field: YA Studies in the Twenty-First Century“, with Emily Corbett, International Journal of Young Adult Literature, (1)1, 2020

“Mythopoeic YA Fantasy’s Worlds of Possibility”, Beyond the Blockbusters: Themes and Trends in Contemporary Young Adult Literature, University Press of Mississippi, 2020

Can I See Me in this Book? Can I See You?: Adolescent Identities Project Report“, with Melanie Ramdarshan Bold Research on Diversity in Youth Literature, (1)2, Article 7, 2019

“A Mapping Sensibility: How Mythopoeic YA (re)Maps the Terrain of Female Adolescence”, Modern Language Studies, (48)1, 2018

Impossible Journey: The Liminality of Female Heroes“, RoundTable (1)1, 2017

“Real Women Aren’t Shiny (or Plastic): The Adolescent Female Body in YA Fantasy”, Girlhood Studies (8)3, 2015


Commissioned Articles

“Judy Blume”, The Literary Encyclopedia, 2018

Forever by Judy Blume“, The Literary Encyclopedia, 2018

Junk by Melvin Burgess“, The Literary Encyclopedia, 2018

Part 1: What is YA?“, H-Amstdy, Humanities Network, 2017


Book Review

“Tweenhood: Femininity and Celebrity in Tween Popular Culture”, Feminist Media Studies, 19:6, 2019


Expert Membership of professional bodies

President and Founder of the YA Studies Association

Roles on external bodies

Editorial Board - International Journal of Young Adult Literature 

Head of Events - Democracy Volunteers 

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