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Fantasy at Glasgow

Fantasy at Glasgow brings together world-leading experts and a vibrant community of taught and research postgraduate students working on Fantasy and the Fantastic in all its manifestations.

We boast the world's first ever MLitt in Fantasy Literature, established by Dr Rob Maslen in 2015, and we host regular visiting speakers and research events, including the Glasgow International Fantasy Conversations (GIFCon).

  • The Fantastic History of the Twentieth Century
  • Myth, Legend, Folklore and Fairy Tales
  • Theorizing the Fantastic
  • Imaginary Languages
  • Children’s Fantasy
  • Energy Imaginaries, Past, Present and Future
  • Fantasy in the Anthropocene
  • Evaporated Genres (Speculative Fiction, Science Fiction, the Weird)
  • Fantasy Across Media (Film, Comics, Games, Fan Cultures, Illustration)
  • Science Fiction and Medical Humanities
  • Gothic and Supernatural Fiction

Symposium on Fantasy & the Fantastic (Kelvin Hall, 10 May 2019)

Fantasy is a central element of human culture—framing, shaping, and binding together ways of thinking, doing and being that span the gamut of human expression and action. Today, its manifestations encompass the full range of contemporary narrative, visual, and performing arts including literature, film, TV, comics, theatre, illustration, advertising and gaming. It provides a crucial interdisciplinary space to stimulate fruitful conversations between widely different areas of research and creativity.

On Friday May 10th 2019, an ArtsLab-funded Fantasy Symposium brought together researchers, practitioners, and creative industry professionals to discuss theoretical and practical questions raised by using fantasy as a discourse and subject. This was the first step towards establishing a Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic at the University of Glasgow.

Reflective blog posts by participants:

Leverhulme Fantasy Lectures by Professor Brian Attebery (2019)

Lecture 1 (21 January 2019): 

Burning Harry Potter and Other Ways of Misreading Fantasy

Lecture 2 (28 January 2019): 

Young Adult Dystopias and Utopias

Lecture 3 (4 February 2019): Fairy Tales and Masculinity

Lecture 4 (11 February 2019): Science Fictional Parabolas: Collaborative Imagination

Lecture 5 (4 March 2019): Fantasy and the Anthropocene: From Gilgamesh to the Ruins of Ymr

Past Events

  • GIFCon 2019, Keynote Speakers: Brian Attebery (Idaho State University/Leverhulme Visiting Professor in Fantasy, University of Glasogow), Kirsty Logan, Mel Gibson (Northumbria University)
  • ‘Reimagining Fantasy’: a Public Conversation in Glasgow University Chapel with Ellen Kushner, Delia Sherman and Terri Windling, May 2018.
  • ‘Scotland in the Transition: renewable Energy in Scotland’, in the Charles Wilson Theatre, with Patrick Harvie MSP, August 2018.
  • ‘Petrocultures 2018: Transition’, a 4-day international conference (over 230 delegates from 15 countries) for the Energy Humanities, at Glasgow University. https://petrocultures2018.wixsite.com/transition
  • GIFCon 2018, Keynote Speakers: Dimitra Fimi (Cardiff Met University), Alice Jenkins (University of Glasgow), Will Slocombe (University of Liverpool), Arianne ‘Tex’ Thompson, April 2018.
  • ‘Night at the Museum: Fantasy Scotland’, Hunterian Museum, Glasgow, November 2017.
  • GIFCon 2017, Keynote Speakers: Julie Bertagna, Stefan Ekman, Phil Harris (Senior Narrative Designer at Videogame company Bigpoint), March 2017.
  • Public Workshop with Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman, November 2016.
  • Mini-Conference: ‘Other Worlds and Story Worlds: New Perspectives on Fiction for Adults and Children’ (co-organised with Evelyn Arizpe and Maureen Farrell, School of Education), Keynote: Julie Bertagna, June 2016.
  • Adam Roberts, ‘Science Fiction’s Greatest Question: Are We Alone in the Universe?’, Aye Write! Book Festival, Mitchell Library, Glasgow, March 2016.
  • ‘From Page to Opera Stage: The Devil Inside. Reimagining Robert Louis Stevenson’s “The Bottle Imp” as a contemporary opera’, January 2016, with Stuart MacRae, Alex Rijdeek and Louise Welsh.
  • Visiting Speakers have included the authors Hal Duncan, Kij Johnson, Kirsty Logan, Mark Millar, Claire North/Cat Webb, Christopher Priest, Arianne ‘Tex’ Thompson and Neil Williamson; the editors Jon Oliver (Commissioning Editor, Rebellion Publishing) and Ben Smith (Head of Books, Rebellion Publishing); and the scholars Andrew M. Butler (Canterbury Christ Church University), Edward James (Anglia Ruskin University) and Anna Vaninskaya (University of Edinburgh)

Forthcoming Events


GifCon Conference

Associated Staff

Associated Staff

Doctoral students

Students who have graduated from Glasgow with Fantasy-related PhDs have worked on topics that include:

  • The fantastic in Victorian literature, art and architecture
  • Fantasy and modernism
  • Lord Dunsany and Ireland
  • ‘Phantasmagoric’ literature of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries
  • Tolkien’s monsters
  • C. S. Lewis, Ursula K. Le Guin and the language of fantasy
  • Monsters and disease in late Victorian fiction
  • Creative writing (DFA)

Current doctoral students are working on:

  • Creative writing (DFA)
  • Prophecy in SF
  • The history of charm
  • Terry Pratchett and Neo-Victorianism
  • Invented religions in SF
  • The novels of Madeleine L’Engle
  • Tolkien’s poetry and folklore
  • Receptions of The Lord of the Rings by young readers
  • The pursuit of perfection in Tolkien’s legendarium
  • Responses to Climate crises in contemporary Fantastic Fiction
  • Female Arabic Science Fiction & Dystopias