Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I am open to PhD applications in the fields of:
- Creative Non-Fiction
- Fiction
- Young Adult Fiction


Research activity per year

Personal profile

Research Interests

The Rule of the Land: Walking Ireland’s Border (Faber & Faber, 2017) is my most recent book. It was widely and positively reviewed and has gained significant media attention. In the Guardian Colm Tóibín called the book, “Great writing about landscape and history”. While in the Daily Telegraph Micheal Kerr said, "It is Carr's contention that Ireland is more divided than any of us suspected — not in two but in three: north, south and borderland. The third state is opened up in this marvellous book"

This book and my curatorial roles form the basis of my Impact Case Study for REF 2021; ‘Politics, Landscape and Identity on Ireland’s Border’. I am currently developing impact projects for the next REF, likely to be in 2028. 

I have made three commissioned programmes for BBC Radio 4 and presented the Book Programme for RTE (Ireland). I am a frequent contributor to the press, the BBC and to other newspapers and broadcasters across the anglophile world, for example the New York Times, the Guardian and the Economist. In addition I have presented many papers to academic conferences, primarily on the topics of cartography and writing about place.

I have a background in visual art and this remains part of my research. I make maps that I exhibit widely and have been selected for inclusion in government and university collections. I also curate a touring exhibition called Mapping Alternative Ulster, funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. It is an exhibition of maps created by independent cartographers and has received wide media attention. It first ran in Belfast’s Ulster Museum in 2015 and its last run was in Donegal’s Regional Cultural Centre in 2022. One visitor called it, “A striking exhibition – provoking new insights.” Another remarked that it, “made me proud to live here and made me want to draw a map.” I was also the curator of a group exhibition called Frontier Work, a group show of visual art that ran in Donegal’s Regional Cultural Centre in 2022.

Hundreds of statements about life on Ireland's border were written during the Border People's Parliament in 2018, when 150 border residents met at Northern Ireland's Parliament Buildings, an event commissioned by 14-18 NOW and the Belfast International Arts Festival. One of my roles was to draft a border manifesto from the written statements. The manifesto has been exhibited in Düsseldorf's Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen (2021), Belfast’s Golden Thread Gallery and Manchester's Whitworth Gallery (2022). The manifesto, according to one commentator, is a “Poetry of reasonable voices”.

I am an external REF reivewer for Falmouth University. 


The Rule of the Land: Walking Ireland’s Border (Faber & Faber, 2017) was reviewed widely and positively, was a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week and was shortlisted for the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year Award. It lead to my inclusion in a showcase of ten writers ‘asking the questions that will shape our future’, an initiative of the National Centre for Writing, the British Council and the Arts Council. One of my children’s books, The Badness of Ballydog, was nominated for the UK Literary Association Children’s Book Award and the Lincolnshire Young Reader’s Award.


I teach Creative Writing at all levels within the English subject area, from Stage One undergraduate through to MA-level teaching and including supervision of PhDs. I convene ENG1090: Introduction to Creative Writing. At Stage Two I teach ENG2093: Creative Writing Prose. I also supervise for Stage Three Creative Writing student wishing to write a year-long Prose Dissertation.

I am primary supervisor to three students undertaking a PhD in Creative Writing. Two have gained significant funding awards from external bodies. Former supervisee Christina Collins published her PhD novel After Zero (Sourcebooks, 2018) and was contracted for another book. Patricia Forde wrote that the novel is “an eloquent journey through the pain of growing up, this tender and truthful book stays with you long after the words have gone.” Louise Kennedy’s PhD short stories went into a collection called The End of the World is a Cul de Sac (Bloomsbury, 2021). Annie Enright wrote that Kennedy's “prose is so alive, I am surprised that the book stays shut when you close it. These stories breathe, talk, kick-up: they have a pulse”. While Emma Donoghue said the collection was “Like fifteen novels squeezed between two covers, ready to blow your mind.”

I am an external examiner for Swansea University. 


I was appointed Lecturer in Creative Writing at Queen's in 2015 and promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2019. I teach creative writing across both undergraduate and postgraduate curricula with focus on prose fiction and non-fiction. My research interests include writing about place, history, memoir and the conbination of text and image. I am also a mapmaker and publish academically on the topic of cartography. I hold post-graduate qualifications in Art History, Geography and a PhD in Creative Writing. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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