Charlotte Ireland

Charlotte Ireland

Department of English Literature
Doctoral researcher

Contact details

PhD title: The Evolution of Chick Lit and Feminism in the UK and US

SupervisorsDr Dorothy Butchard, Dr Amy Burge and Professor Deborah Longworth
PhD English Literature


  • BA English Literature at Nottingham Trent University
  • MRes English Literary Research at Nottingham Trent University


After completing my undergraduate and masters at Nottingham Trent University, I chose to study for my PhD at University of Birmingham because its active research culture in popular fiction, genre and romance offers a uniquely supportive research environment for my PhD.


In Winter 2019, I co-organised a BUCU Teach Out workshop for University of Birmingham and lead a group discussion on: ‘What does the Contemporary Romance Genre Entail?’

In Autumn 2020, I taught on the MA Evolutions module: specifically taking more of a lead on the week of ‘Desire and Invention: Twentieth to Twenty-First-Century Romance and Chick Lit.’


My thesis demonstrates a new trend in Anglophone (UK/USA) chick lit. Scholarship has previously argued that chick lit texts illustrate and, at times, satirise the postfeminist landscape and -- while also in agreement with this trend of 1990-2010 chick lit fiction -- this project takes it further by also identifying a trend of post-2015 chick lit fiction: an alignment of these texts with a new, fourth-wave of feminism and intersectional feminism. While ‘chick lit’ has been criticised for its ‘froth’ and ‘instantly forgettable’ texts, my research argues that new and old ‘chick lit’ are yes, ‘mostly humorous’, but also both ‘zeitgeist’ and political, especially in terms of feminist theory.

Other activities

I co-organised the 2020 IASPR Digital Forum Conference (10-17th July 2020) – scheduling the talks (with many different time zones), responding to the group’s emails, monitoring submissions and publicising the event.

I co-chaired the ‘Global Romance & Diversity’ special event discussion in the 2020 IASPR Digital Forum Conference (11th July).

I presented my research on ‘Female Sacrifice in Chick Lit Romance’ and participated in a Live Q&A session (July 16th) for the 2020 IASPR Digital Forum Conference.

I co-chair the Postgrad-led Romance Reading Group, where I coordinate and run monthly discussion sessions based on the topic of romance. 

In June 2021, I will be participating in a lightening talk panel for the IASPR’s 2021 conference on ‘Chick Lit in the Twenty-First Century: Diversity, Inclusion and Innovation’ alongside Amy Burge (University of Birmingham), Heike Mißler (Universität des Saarlandes) and Sandra Folie (University of Vienna). My talk will compare the similarities between Ayisha Malik’s Sofia Khan is Not Obliged (2015) and Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’ Diary (1996).


I am working towards a publication in the Journal of Popular Romance Studies which conducts a feminist comparison of Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’ Baby and the film adaptation: Feminist Gridlock: Romantic Ideologies in the Film and Novel of Bridget Jones’s Baby (2016).