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Sarah France

Sarah France

Doctoral Student in Literature.



Dr Stacy Gillis, Dr Fionnghuala Sweeney & Professor Crawford Gribben (QUB)

Research project

Before the End: Extinction, Anticipation and Mourning in 21st-Century American Fiction

My research considers 21st-century American extinction novels as articulations of anticipatory mourning that respond to the existential threat of ecological catastrophe. I investigate the difficulty of narrating, considering, and grieving human extinction, and argue that these texts diverge significantly from both previous theological narratives of apocalypse, and recent post-apocalyptic imaginings of global disaster. By representing extinction as an imminent threat, these novels productively respond to the current environmental crisis by soliciting a confrontation with absolute mortality, thereby directing focus to questions of human responsibility and action that transcend other political considerations, owing to eco-catastrophe’s long-lasting and unprecedented impact. I direct attention to the epistemological difficulties of comprehending climate catastrophe and its distinctive grief responses, identifying the representational strategies used to process this grief, and their failure, arguing that the absence of satisfactory closure solicits the need for responsibility and action against environmental threat.

Research Interests

  • contemporary literature and culture
  • speculative fiction
  • environmental humanities
  • feminist theory
  • narrative theory

Research activities


  • France, Sarah. “Seeking a Solution to the End of the World: Genre Hybridity, Closure and Mourning in Apocalyptic Detective Fiction.” Genre Bending: Crime’s Hybrid Forms. Special Issue of Clues. Edited by Maurizio Ascari, vol. 37, no. 3, 2020.
  • “’THE ONLYES POWER IS NO POWER’: Disrupting Phallocentrism in the Post-Apocalyptic Space of Russell Hoban’s Riddley Walker.” Fantastika, vol. 4, 2020.
  • “Walking Out of Dualisms: Material Ecofeminism in Olivia Laing’s To The River.” Journal of International Women’s Studies, vol. 20, no. 4, 2019. 39-45.

Funding and awards

  • S.Y. Killingley Trust Memorial Grant (2019)
  • Highest Performance Prize, M.A. in English Literature (2017)
  • Humanities and Social Science Postgraduate Excellence Scholarship (2016)
  • School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics Masters Scholarship Award (2016)


  • “Before the End: Anticipation, Extinction and Futurity in Pre-Apocalyptic Fiction.” Imagining the Apocalypse, The Courtauld Institute of Art, October 2019.
  • “Detecting the End of the World in Apocalyptic Crime Fiction.” Delicate Infractions: International Crime Fiction Conference, Maynooth University, June 2019.
  • “Cultural Precarity and Crisis in Pre-Apocalyptic Narratives.” Being Human Festival: Beginnings and Endings, Newcastle University & Explore Lifelong Learning, October 2018.
  • “‘An Indian Translated into English-Medium’: Migrant Identity and the Mirror Stage in Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses.” Transculturation: Encounters in the Modern Period, 1830-Present, University of York, May 2017.
  • “The Rebirth of Language: The Female Body as a Site for Reconstruction after Nuclear Holocaust.” Body Politics: Gender Research Group Dissertation Symposium, Newcastle University, May 2016.


  • secretary for the SELLL Postgraduate Student/Staff Committee (2019/2020)
  • NU Women Intern (2019/2020)

Academic background

  • M.A. in English Literature (Newcastle University)
  • B.A. (Hons) in English Literature (Newcastle University)