Sarah was born and bred in Lancaster in the North West of England. Despite having lived all over Great Britain, she is still a Northerner at heart. She did her undergraduate degree at Clare College, University of Cambridge, completing it in English Literature despite starting it in Philosophy. She managed to combine these two loves in a Masters in Philosophy and Literature at the University of Warwick which she completed in 1999. She then spent a year in London, working in publishing and spending her lunch hours in the book shops on Charing Cross Road. That was enough to convince her that she wanted to be the one writing the books, not editing them, so back to University she went. She spent four years in Brighton completing her doctorate, only then to enter the limbo land of post-doctoral unemployment. Just as she’d reached the conclusion that her only option was to retrain as a chef, she landed her first post as Lecturer in Contemporary Literature in the School of English at the University of St Andrews. She moved up the ladder to Senior Lecturer there in 2012, and took up her current post as University Lecturer in Literature and Film in the Faculty of English at the University of Cambridge in 2014.
Sarah is a feminist literary and film critic and theorist. Her research field is twentieth and twenty-first century British and North American literature and film, and continental philosophy. Her diverse research interests are united by a consistent analysis of forms of intimacy. Her first monograph, The Palimpsest: Literature, Criticism, Theory (2006), argues that the metaphor of the palimpsest – a parchment or other writing surface on which otherwise unrelated texts become intimate due to reuse – provides a structure for thinking anew about history, subjectivity, temporality, textuality and sexuality. Her second monograph, Queer Intimacies: Deconstruction ∩ Feminism ∩ Film (forthcoming 2018), explores the intimacy between the three discourses of its subtitle in order to develop and perform the possibilities of a queer feminist deconstructive film criticism, whilst also challenging, where necessary, Jacques Derrida’s thinking about gender, sexuality, film and the visual. She is currently completing a third monograph – provisionally entitled Figures of Reproduction – which traces the figurative and conceptual power of reproduction in contemporary sf, covering a range of feminist dystopias as well as works by Maggie Gee, M. John Harrison and David Mitchell.
In addition to her academic work, since 2012 Sarah has been developing a parallel but complementary career as a broadcaster, specialising in particular in radio. She was a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Thinker in 2013 and now has her own documentary series – Literary Pursuits – on BBC Radio 3 and a mini-series – Close Reading – on BBC Radio 4’s Open Book programme. She presents and appears regularly on BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio 4.
Sarah lives in Cambridge with her husband and two young children. She lives the everyday pressures of being a parent and a professional, and is politically committed to the feminist cause of producing professional and domestic environments that enable women to combine pursuing a successful career with motherhood.