My research is primarily concerned with contemporary literature, with a strong emphasis on British and Canadian writing. Since completing a PhD in 2004 on the relationship of Margaret Atwood’s fiction with second wave feminism, I have maintained a strong research interest in Atwood’s work, and am a member of the International Advisory Board for the Margaret Atwood Studies journal, and author of Margaret Atwood: Feminism and Fiction (2007). I am currently writing The Fiction of Margaret Atwood, which is due to be published by Palgrave in 2017.
I do a lot of work on contemporary women’s writing, and am a board member of the Contemporary Women’s Writing Association. I have published widely on writers such as Carol Shields, Alice Munro, Andrea Levy and Kate Atkinson, and my main research project at the moment, a monograph entitled The Good of Art in Contemporary British Fiction, examines the work of writers such as Zadie Smith, Pat Barker and Ali Smith. I also do work on postcolonial studies, and am an editor of the Journal of Postcolonial Writing and a member of the Northern Postcolonial Network. All of this work feeds into my teaching here at LJMU, where I convene the final year module, Post-millennial British Fiction.
Literature, Migration, and the ‘War on Terror’. Ed. Fiona Tolan, Stephen Morton, Anastasia Valassopoulos and Robert Spencer. London: Routledge, 2012.
Teaching Gender. Ed. Alice Ferrebe and Fiona Tolan. London: Palgrave, 2012.
New Directions: Writing Post-1990. London: Pearson, 2010.
Writers Talk: Conversations with Contemporary British Novelists. Ed. Philip Tew, Fiona Tolan, Leigh Wilson. London: Continuum, 2008.
Margaret Atwood: Feminism and Fiction. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2007
“Zadie Smith’s Forsterian Ethics: White Teeth, The Autograph Man, On Beauty”. Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction. Forthcoming.
“‘Cleaning Gives Me Pleasure’: Housework and Feminism in Carol Shields’s Unless”, Australasian Canadian Studies Journal. Forthcoming.
“‘Painting Whilst Rome Burns’: Ethics and Aesthetics in Pat Barker’s Life Class and Zadie Smith’s On Beauty”, Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature. Forthcoming.
“To Leave and To Return: Frustrated Departures and Female Quest in Alice Munro’s Runaway”, Contemporary Women’s Writing. 4.3 (November 2010): 161-178.
“The Psychoanalytic Theme in Margaret Atwood’s Fiction: A Response to Burkhard Niederhoff”, Connotations: A Journal for Critical Debate. 19.1-3 (2009/10): 92-106.
“‘Everyone has Left Something Here’: The Storyteller-Historian in Kate Atkinson’s Behind the Scenes at the Museum”, Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction, 50.3 (Spring 2009): 275-290.
“Sucking the Blood out of Second Wave Feminism: Postfeminist Vampirism in Margaret Atwood’s The Robber Bride”, Gothic Studies, 9.2 (November 2007): 45-57.
“Situating Canada: The Shifting Perspective of the Post-Colonial Other in Margaret Atwood’s The Robber Bride”, American Review of Canadian Studies, 35.3 (Autumn 2005): 453-470.
“Feminist Utopias and Questions of Liberty: Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale as Critique of New Wave Feminism”, Women: a cultural review, 16.1 (Spring 2005): 18-32.
“Guilt and Innocence in the Community and the Self: The Question of Mutual Responsibility in Margaret Atwood’s Surfacing”, British Journal of Canadian Studies, 17.1 (2004): 105-116.
Chapters in Books
“‘Was I My Sister’s Keeper?’ The Blind Assassin and Problematic Feminisms”, Margaret Atwood: The Robber Bride; The Blind Assassin; Oryx and Crake. Ed. J. Brooks Bouson. London: Continuum, 2010: 73-87.
“Situating Canada: The Shifting Perspective of the Postcolonial Other in Margaret Atwood’s The Robber Bride”, Margaret Atwood: Bloom’s Modern Critical Views. New ed. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Infobase, 2009. 143-58.
“‘He could see her no longer’: The Negation of Femininity through Violence in Ian McEwan’s Fiction”, Gender and Interpersonal Violence: Language, Action and Representation, ed. Flora Alexander and Karen Throsby. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008: 186-99.
“Identifying the Precious in Zadie Smith’s On Beauty”, British Fiction Today. Ed. Rod Mengham and Philip Tew. London: Continuum, 2006: 128-38.
“Anglophone Canadian Literary Studies”, Modern North American Criticism and Theory: A Critical Guide. Ed. Julian Wolfreys. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2006: 214-23.
“Feminisms”, Modern Literary Theory and Criticism: An Oxford Guide. Ed. Patricia Waugh. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2005: 319-39.