Dr Alice Kelly

Digital Scholarship Postdoctoral Fellow

Digital Scholarship Postdoctoral Fellow, September 2019 - June 2020


Project: WINKING BACK: Femslash Fanfiction as Literature of Queer Survival in the Digital Age

My interest in studying fan fiction began when I started reading Devil Wears Prada fan fiction pairing the film's female protagonists, Miranda Priestley and Andy Sachs, during my PhD. I was looking for reading material that would help me unwind from my doctoral research on Joseph Conrad's female characters, but instead found surprising areas of overlapping resonances. My thesis, Breathing Spaces and Afterlives: The Colonial Literary Canon and Joseph Conrad's Female Characters, explored small but highly charged pockets of resistance in Conrad's Lingard trilogy (Almayer's Folly, An Outcast of the Islands, and The Rescue) in which women of colour express their anxieties about imperialism, the nuances of their racial and cultural identities, and their queer desires for each other. Tracing these characters as they materialised in the visual media that accompanied or followed the publication of these novels - from early twentieth-century periodicals, to mid-century mass-market pulp paperbacks, to contemporary feminist film adaptations - I placed these women at the centre of my work. Working on the importance of character, trying to conceptualise the intertextual and extratextual components of adaptation, and develop reading strategies that bring queer subtexts to light, while also reading femslash (female-female) fan fiction in my spare time, I came to see femslash as the next logical focus of my research. My postdoctoral research positions femslash fan fiction within the history of lesbian literary adaptation, as the most recent incarnation of what Susan Fraiman has called 'shelter writing'. I argue that this queer survival literature of the digital age subversively plays with the mainstream, popular, transmedia source texts that inspire it, to create narratives of queer domesticity that counter both hetero- and homonormative models of the home, while nourishing not only the characters in the story, but the writers and readers who invest in them too. Having completed my PhD, Masters and undergraduate degrees at the University of Edinburgh, I am excited to be developing my ideas on homonormativity, domesticity and the literary canon at IASH, under the mentorship of Dr Benjamin Bateman.


"Lots of Us Are Doing Fine": Femslash Fan Fiction, Happy Endings, and the Archontic Expansions of the Price of Salt Archive', Lit: Literature Interpretation Theory, vol. 31, issue 1, 42-59, DOI: 10.1080/10436928.2020.1712791

'Fan Fiction as Feminist Citation: Lesbian (Para)textuality in Chainofclovers's "Done with the Compass, Done with the Chart"'. Transformative Works and Cultures, no. 30. 2019c https://doi.org/10.3983/twc.2019.1773

‘Nina Almayer, Aurora Marion and “The Cultural Air We Breathe”: Character Status and Embodiment in Joseph Conrad’s Almayer’s Folly and Its Film Adaptation, Chantal Akerman’s La Folie Almayer.’ Postcolonial Interventions, vol. IV, no. 1, 2019b, pp. 229–60. doi:10.5281/zenodo.2554522

‘“The Problem of Longitude”: Unplottable Subjects, the Imaginary Pacific, and Queer Seas in Joseph Conrad’s “The Planter of Malata”’. The Sea in the Literary Imagination: Global Perspectives, edited by Ben P. Robertson et al., Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2019a, pp. 57–76. https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ed/reader.action?docID=5628850&ppg=71  

‘“My Sable Ingramina”: Queering Colonial Gender Roles in Mary Kingsley’s Travels in West Africa.’ Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies, vol. 13, no. 3, 2017, pp. 43–55. https://www.ncgsjournal.com/issue133/kelly.htm  

‘“Lost Amongst Shapeless Things”: The Figure of the Woman in Joseph Conrad’s Colonial Fiction.’ Durham English Review: An Undergraduate Journal, vol. 3, no .1, 2015, pp. 53-67. http://community.dur.ac.uk/durham.englishreview/index.php?option=com_content&view=artic le&id=20&Itemid=132