Dr Alison Peirse



I am Lecturer in Writing for Screen and Stage. I have also lectured at Lancaster, Salford, Hull, Northumbria and Leeds Beckett University. My AHRC funded PhD, awarded in 2007, was supervised by Professor Annette Kuhn at the University of Lancaster. I was awarded the PG Cert in Academic Practice and Learning by Northumbria in 2011 and was made a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2013.

My research is now in scriptwriting and story development. I have won a BBC WritersRoom/Ideas Tap competition for my script 'In My Skin', I've been selected for Channel 4's 4Talent scriptwriting strand, and have undertaken playwright training with the High Tide Festival Theatre company at Manchester's Royal Exchange Theatre. I'm also a script consultant, working with individual writers, independent producers, industry funding bodies and production companies to develop film and television scripts. My most recent credit is Script Editor on the independent British horror film Dark Beacon (2017, Corrie Greenop).

Departmental roles

I specialise in teaching storytelling and scriptwriting. I teach students on the undergraduate degrees in Film and Television Production, Interactive Media and Theatre: Writing, Directing and Performance, and the postgraduate degrees MA Digital Film and Television Production, and MA Theatre: Writing, Directing and Performance.

I am also the admissions tutor for MA by Research in Screenwriting, the TFTV Industry Masterclass co-ordinator, the Postgraduates Who Teach (PGWT) Co-ordinator, and the Staff Liaison for the Staff / Student Forum.



I specialise in horror. I am interested in the intersections of creative and critical practice (filmmaking, screenwriting, playwriting), and how storytelling is transformed across different digital platforms. Issues of identity, class and gender remain central to my work.

My first monograph, After Dracula: The 1930s Horror Film, was published by I.B. Tauris in late 2013, as was Korean Horror Cinema, the book collection I co-edited for Edinburgh University Press. I have also edited a special horror and cult issue of the journal Asian Cinema (2011) and was the co-organiser of a conference on British Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Television at Northumbria (2011). I have delivered over 30 conference papers in the past ten years in UK, Mainland Europe and North America.

I'm writing my my third book, The Talking Dead: British Horror Cinema and Spiritualism (Edinburgh University Press), for which I was awarded a British Academy Small Research Grant. In this book, I explore spiritualism (the social practice of communicating with the dead) in relation to British cinema. My book suggests that mediums and seances remain a significant point of unease, not only for the characters in the narrative, but also for the censors, filmmakers and critics alike, and that spiritualism remains a powerful and potent force in British film culture throughout the 20th and 21st century.


Awards, Competitions and Grants

  • Shortlisted, Radio 3 / AHRC New Generation Thinkers (2015)
  • Shortlisted, Arts Council England / High Tide Festival Theatre Playwright Training (2015)
  • Selected for Channel 4’s 4Talent Day, scriptwriting strand (2014)
  • Winner, BBC WritersRoom / Ideas Tap Inspires Competition (2014)
  • British Academy Small Research Grant (£2670) (2013)
  • British Academy Overseas Conference Grant (£700) (2009)          
  • European Science Foundation Invited Speaker Award (£900) (2008)
  • University of Lancaster Postgraduate Research Conference Travel Fund for Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference in Chicago, USA (£250) (2006)
  • AHRC Doctoral Award Research Scholarship (circa £30,000) (2004 – 2006)
  • University of Lancaster Doctoral Research Scholarship (£8,000) (2003 – 2004)
  • AHRB Masters Award Postgraduate Scholarship (circa £12,000) (2002 – 2003)


Selected publications

Recent, selected publications:

Books and Edited Collections

  • The Talking Dead: British Horror Cinema and Spiritualism (Edinburgh University Press, forthcoming 2017)
  • After Dracula: The 1930s Horror Film (I.B. Tauris, 2013)
  • Korean Horror Cinema (co-edited with Daniel Martin, Edinburgh University Press, 2013)
  • ‘Horror and Cult East Asian Cinema’, guest edited issue of Asian Cinema (Intellect, 2011)

Journal Articles and Book Chapters

  • The Script, the Séance and the Censor: Writing Night of the Demon, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television (2017, forthcoming)
  • Dracula on Film, 1932 - 1959, in Roger Luckhurst (ed) A Cambridge Companion to Dracula (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017, forthcoming)
  • How to Write a Horror Film: The Awakening and Development Practices in the British Film Industry, Film Studies 14.1 (2016): 54 - 74.
  • Speaking for Herself: Andrea Dunbar and Bradford on Film, Journal For Cultural Research 20.1 (2016): 60 - 72.
  • 'A Revolutionary Voice’: Analysing Maxine Peake’s Northern Stardom in Silk and Room at the Top, Journal of Popular Television 4.2 (2016): 213 – 224, with Kristyn Gorton
  • The Feminine Appeal of British Horror Cinema, New Review of Film and Television Studies 15.2 (2015): 385 – 402.

External activities


National and International Recognition

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2013)
  • Editorial Advisory Board for book series: Palgrave Gothic (Palgrave) and Cultographies (Columbria University Press)
  • Editorial Advisory Board for journals: Horror Studies (Intellect), Journal of Popular Television (Intellect) and Intensities: Journal of Cult Media (Brunel)
  • Keynote Speaker: Early Career Research, Department of Theatre, Film and Television, University of York (2010); (with Kristyn Gorton): War and Television, at Imaging War: Intergenerational Perspectives, University of Linköping, Linköping, Sweden (2008)
  • Manuscript Reviewer for Edinburgh University Press, Palgrave, I.B. Tauris, Bloomsbury and Routledge
  • Article reviewer for Screen (Oxford UP), Visual Culture in Britain (Routledge), Feminist Media Studies (Routledge), Gothic Studies (Manchester UP), Science Fiction Film and Television (Liverpool UP),Adaptation (Oxford UP), Scope (Nottingham), Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media (Cork) and Textus: English Studies in Italy (Associazione Italiana di Anglistica)
  • Invited to present research seminars at University of East Anglia, University of Newcastle, University of York and University of Salford


  • Founding member of the Northern Television Research Group (2009 – present)
  • Member of the Screenwriting Research Network
  • Member of BAFTSS
  • Member of the AHRC funded Global Cult Cinema in the Age of Convergence network

Media coverage

Media and Festival Activities:

  • Anthill 6: Into the Darkness, Podcast for The Conversation (2016): https://theconversation.com/anthill-6-into-the-darkness-67267
  • The Final Girls presents Carrie, Invited Speaker on Panel Discussion, The ICA, London (2016); https://www.ica.org.uk/whats-on/carrie-panel-discussion-and-bloody-prom-party
  • Interview, BBC Radio 4, Woman's Hour, on Feminist Horror Film (2016): http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07m4d2g
  • Storytelling: The Pre-School Parent Trap, Invited Speaker at The Children’s Media Conference, Showroom Cinema, Sheffield (2015): http://www.thechildrensmediaconference.com/sessions/storytelling-the-pre-school-parent-trap/
  • Writing the 80s Action Movie, Invited Talk at Offscreen Film Festival, Brussels (2015)
  • Writing Television Drama for Children: A Wolfblood Q&A with Debbie Moon, On TV: Children and Television Festival, Showroom Cinema, Sheffield (2014)
  • Interview, BBC Radio Newcastle’s Drivetime programme, on the Oscar winners (2012)
  • Interview, BBC Radio Newcastle’s Drivetime programme, on the UK film industry (2012)
  • Advisory Board of the Fantastiq Film Festival (2012 - present)
  • Jury member for Silver Méliès competition at the Leeds International Film Festival (2009)
  • Interviewed on BBC Radio Humberside, discussing Get Carter and its links to the East Ridings and the North East (2008)
  • Web writer and contributor to the Fantastic Films Weekend, National Media Museum, Bradford (2005)
  • Freelance Journalist writing for regional print and online media, including The Metro (commuter newspaper), Yorkshire Evening Post (newspaper), Absolute Leeds (magazine), BBC Leeds (online portal) andpixelsurgeon (online) (2004 – 2007)

Image - Alison Peirse

Contact details

Dr Alison Peirse
Theatre, Film and Television
University of York
Baird Lane, Heslington East Campus
North Yorkshire
YO10 5GB

Tel: 01904 325233

Twitter: @allypeirse