Sarah Dunnigan


Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Sarah would be happy to hear from potential research students interested in any of the following areas: <br/>Scottish medieval and Renaissance literature; <br/>medieval and Renaissance women writers; <br/>fairy tales; children's literature; <br/>Scottish traditional literature, including the relationship between traditional belief and cultural history.

Personal profile


After graduating in English and Scottish Literature from the University of Glasgow, Sarah completed a PhD at the University of Edinburgh where she went on to hold a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship for three years. She was appointed to a lectureship at Edinburgh in 2002. Her main teaching and research interests lie in medieval and Renaissance literature, especially Scottish; in fairy tales and traditional literature; children's literature; neomedievalism in c28th and c19th Scotland; and the history of Scottish women's writing.

Research Interests

Sarah has written about various aspects of medieval and Renaissance Scottish literature, with a particular focus on poetry and women's writing; and on aspects of literary fairy tale collection and creation in Scotland from the late medieval period to the nineteenth century, including the relationship between the Grimms and Scotland. She co-edited, with Suzanne Gilbert of Stirling University, The Edinburgh Companion to Scottish Traditional Literatures, and has published an edition of Violet Jacob’s 1904 collection of fairy tales for children, The Golden Heart and other stories. She has also published work on traditional Scottish ballads;  mermaids in nineteenth-century Scottish literature and folklore; Scottish Gothic; Robert Burns and J.M. Barrie; and on a range of Scottish women writers from the c16th to the contemporary period, including Catherine Carswell, Nancy Brysson Morrison, A.L. Kennedy, and Alice Thompson. 

Research activity

Sarah is completing a book on fairies and fairy tales in Scotland from the late medieval period to the early nineteenth-century, and has begun work on a new project on the history of children's literature in Scotland. She is co-editing, with Shu-Fang Lai, a volume of essays on Scottish children's writing in the c19th, and working with Valentina Bold, on a collection of early Scottish children's literature. Since autumn 2015, she has been working with the Museum of Childhood in Edinburgh, and its curator, Lyn Wall, to catalogue and explore their extensive book collections along with a team of dedicated and generous postgraduate volunteers. An exhibition, provisionally entitled 'Growing Up With Books', will open at the Museum in the summer of 2018, based on the fruits of this archival work.

Sarah is also part of a Leverhulme-funded project on Irish, Welsh, and Scottish women's poetry 1400-1800, directed by Sarah Prescott (Dublin), along with  Marie-Louise Coolahan and  Wes Hamrick (Galway),  Kate Mathis (Edinburgh), and Cathryn Charnell-White (Aberystwyth).

Along with Carole Jones, and Fiona McCulloch, Sarah co-organised 'Scottish Women's Fiction: a Symposium' at the University in September 2015 and 'Scottish Women's Poetry: a Symposium', held in collaboration with the Scottish Poetry Library in November 2016. Together they are co-editing a volume of essays on contemporary Scottish women's writing to be published by Edinburgh University Press.


  • Medieval and Renaissance Scottish Literature
  • Falling in Love in the Middle Ages
  • Fairy Tales
  • Feminising the Word: Women and Literature c1100-c1500


  • PE English
  • PZ Childrens literature
  • PR English literature


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