New Selcies

Alice Gray

Alice hails from the South-East and her academic career has taken a circuitous route through Western Literature: a degree in Classical Studies from King’s College, London, a Masters in Shakespeare at Royal Holloway, University of London, and now she is a PhD candidate at Edinburgh University, exploring the role of the female supernatural in Shakespeare’s plays. She has always been interested in myths, legends, folklore and fairy tales and she is delighted to be joining the SELCIE team to help uncover the fairy footprints hidden within the Museum of Childhood’s archive!

Fiona Mossman

Fiona grew up in the Scottish Highlands and came to the University of Edinburgh for her degree in literature. She worked in several libraries in Oxford and Cambridge before returning to Edinburgh for a master’s degree in Book History and Material Culture. Her academic work is currently focused on the materiality of the book and the history and politics of libraries and their collections, but her interests are broad and eclectic. Working with SELCIE on a project to commemorate the Cottingley fairies speaks to her love of fairy tales, sown in childhood, as well as to her interests in the nature of the book and her professional practice as a library worker.

Ivy McKay

  Ivy is currently a post-graduate student studying at the University of Edinburgh. She is pursuing her master’s degree in Medieval Literatures and Cultures and plans on extending her research to a Ph.D. focusing on French medieval literature. She received her bachelor’s degree in English Literature in 2017 from the University of Central Florida. Her research focuses on chivalry and knighthood and the ideologies that construct our understanding of these concepts. Ivy also aims to incorporate an interdisciplinary approach to her research, working with literary theory and political frameworks in her writing. Ivy works to continuously expand her knowledge of medieval literature and culture and how that extends and informs current understanding of the Middle Ages and the contemporary world.

Alana White

 Alana grew up near Edinburgh in a home full of books. During her undergraduate degree in History and English Literature at Edinburgh she developed a passion for fantasy and fairy tales, leading to her current MScR in twentieth century children’s fantasy. Her research is primarily focused on theological and philosophical aspects of Faërie, particularly texts from the sceptical twentieth century. These academic interests inspired her involvement with SELCIE, as well as a passion for sharing the idea that Faërie is significant for everyone at every age. She looks forward to highlighting the importance of children’s literature and encouraging more adults to revisit Faërie as a site of enchantment and doubt.


Danielle Howarth

Danielle HowarthBorn near Manchester, Danielle has spent most of her life in Australia and completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Sydney. She moved to Edinburgh in 2014 to undertake an MSc in Medieval Literatures and Cultures at the University of Edinburgh, and she has just recently successfully passed her PhD viva in Medieval Studies, looking at trees in Middle English romance from an ecofeminist perspective. She became involved with SELCIE in October 2015 through her role as Principal Research Assistant on a project to catalogue the Museum of Childhood’s book stores, where she fell in love with all the little treasures to be uncovered when working with children’s literature.

Morgan Boharski

Morgan BoharskiMorgan Boharski grew up as an avid reader in Montana, U.S.A. She began her academic career at the University of Washington in Seattle studying French and Classical Studies and recently completed a PhD on literary depictions of women working with cloth in Old French literature at the University of Edinburgh. After living in France and Germany for two years working with and teaching children, Morgan became interested in the ways in which books are used by children, both pedagogically and for pleasure, and found a home in the SELCIE project.

Joanna Witkowska

Joanna WitkowskaJoanna comes from Poland and she grew up in a town on the outskirts of Warsaw. She earned her master’s degree in English Philology at Warsaw University in 2011 and moved to Edinburgh to begin her PhD in Medieval Studies in 2012. She works mainly with medieval sermons from the collection known as the Festial, looking at its communication strategies, pastoral care and popularity. She became involved with SELCIE through her volunteering for the project to catalogue Museum of Childhood’s book stores, where she continues to discover how much children’s literature connects the present to the past through surprisingly familiar childhood experiences.

Katie Forrester (Artist in Residence)

Katie ForresterKatie has recently been awarded a practice-based PhD in the field of design at Edinburgh College of Art, and is the artist in residence for SELCIE. The Museum of Childhood archive provides a broad collection of children’s literature for an understanding of the different ways fairytales and folktales have been visually interpreted through history and across cultures. This residency informs her illustration work which is based on the archetypes found in folk and fairy tales across the world. The overall aim of Katie’s project is to explore the illustration of picture books as a platform to engage both the child and adult audience in intercultural communication.

Valentina Bold

Valentina BoldValentina has been interested in Scottish children’s literature all her life! Her earliest reading memories include George Macdonald’s  The Princess and Curdie, Mollie Hunter’s The Spanish Letters and  A Child’s Garden of Verses. More recently, she has written about Peter Pan and nineteenth-century children’s chapbooks and broadsides, and co-organised a conference on Scottish Children’s Literature with Sarah. She teaches Scottish literature at Edinburgh University and was a Reader at the University of Glasgow. Val is currently working with Sarah on a compendium of Scottish children’s literature.

Sarah Dunnigan

Sarah DunniganBased in English Literature at Edinburgh University, Sarah teaches and writes about Scotland’s medieval and renaissance literature, early women writers, ballads, and fairy tales. She has edited Violet Jacob’s fairy tale collection, The Golden Heart (1904), and has most recently written about mermaids in Scottish Romantic writing; the Grimms and Scotland; J.M. Barrie, children, and the Gothic; and female enchanters in Scottish folklore and literature. She is working on several book projects and collaborations on Scottish children’s literature, and child readers, with Valentina; Shu-Fang Lai; and with Lyn, her colleagues, and the dedicated SELCIE team at The Museum of Childhood. The beautiful turn-of-the-century illustrations for children’s books by the Glaswegian Art Nouveau artist, Jessie M. King, are one reason which led to her fascination for the subject; her mother’s love of Scottish fairy tales and folklore another.

Lyn Stevens

Lyn WallLyn Stevens is a Curator at the Museum of Childhood, Edinburgh and leads the cataloguing project, which aims to widen access to the Museum’s stored book collection. The Museum established in 1955, was the world’s first Museum of Childhood and has the largest collection of childhood related material. The Museum holds approximately 15,000 books of all types, ranging from the C18th to the present day. Lyn is delighted that the SELCIE project has been able to add knowledge and enthusiasm to the book collection project. Her other current projects are researching representations of race and racial equality in Childhood collections, especially depicted through books and soft toys, and planning phase 2 of the redevelopment of the Museum after the successful opening of the new Changing Childhoods Gallery in 2018. In addition to her role at the Museum of Childhood, Lyn also works as a Registrar at the National Museums of Scotland.

Lois Burke

Lois BurkeLois recently completed her PhD at Napier University after studying for a Masters in Romantic and Victorian Literature at Durham University. Her research focuses on the life writing and literature of pubescent Victorian girls, and she is particularly interested in their awareness of being in a transitional life stage. She is also interested in Neo-Victorian texts, and the ways in which contemporary writers re-imagine historical childhoods. This topic she explored as a David Almond Fellow at Seven Stories children’s literature archive in early 2016. She has been volunteering at the Museum of Childhood since May 2016 and joined the SELCIE team in December 2016. She has already taken a shine to some late-Victorian manuscript magazines, and she hopes to study more life writings and early children’s periodicals such as the story paper Chatterbox and Peter Parley’s Annual, both of which are housed in the collection.

Niamh Sarah Rose Keenan

Niamh completed her MScR at Edinburgh University, examining the sociopolitics of children’s literature in the Edwardian Age authors, Edith Nesbit and J. M. Barrie. This followed a primary degree in English Literature and Italian, also at Edinburgh University. Love of fairy tales and children’s literature has long been in her blood but came to fruition when, on her Erasmus year at the University of Bologna, she chose to write her long essay on Alice in Wonderland, The Secret Garden and The Wind in the Willows. Currently, she is working for her PhD in the Italian department and her area of study is the postcolonial “other” in terms of national identity, as found in Emilio Salgari’s and Hugo Pratt’s paraliterature. This evolved out of all the work she does for SELCIE, especially on the folk and fairy tales of differing countries and cultures.

Anna McKay

Anna McKay
Anna grew up locally in Haddington, East Lothian, and from her early years developed a great love of reading. Having completed her undergraduate and Masters’ degrees in English Literature at the University of Edinburgh, she is now working on a PhD there, exploring the representation of textiles in medieval English and Scottish religious literature. She credits her decision to pursue a career in literature to her mother’s gift of Andrew Lang’s Orange Fairy Book when she was seven, a gift which inspired her to collect all twelve volumes of the collection throughout her childhood, and which established a life-long fascination with fairy tales and folklore. Children’s literature is thus very close to her heart, and she looks forward to discovering more hidden gems in the Museum of Childhood’s archives.

Elly Grayson

Elly GraysonElly was born in Liverpool and raised in Lancashire. She earned her BA at the University of South Wales, and through reading Angela Carter was inspired to write about Perrault’s fairy tales in nineteenth-century chapbooks for her MSc thesis at the University of Edinburgh. It was Sarah’s enthusiasm for J. M. Barrie in her Fairy Tales course that really took root, though! Elly is now focussing her PhD research on Barrie’s personal essays and life-writings, to uncover how he uses ‘echoes’ of Robert Louis Stevenson’s work and life to conceptualise the role of the Scottish author. Her interest in fairy tales stems from memories of being read to at bedtime, and she still treasures a book of rhymes her grandmother compiled for her, “Granny’s Rag Bag”. She’s been following SELCIE’s progress for a while now, and is delighted to be joining the team in 2018.

Jane Bonsall

Jane BonsallJane Bonsall was raised in a home full of books in California, though she spent as much time as possible in Neverland, Narnia and Middle Earth. Her love of stories led to a degree in English Literature from Macalester College in Minnesota, and later to a MSc in Medieval Literatures and Cultures from the University of Edinburgh. She recently completed a PhD at the University of Edinburgh which explores the representations of magical women in medieval literature and the interconnected nature of literature and history. Her work focuses on texts that are the precursors to folk and fairy tales, and the familiar patterns that emerge across time and genres; this interest drew her to SELCIE, where those patterns are made beautifully visible in this collection of children’s literature.