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Amy Bouwer

Languages and Literature, University of Nottingham

Thesis title:

Contemporary Cassandras: Margaret Atwood and the Rise of the Feminist Antiprediction

My thesis explores an emergent wave of dystopian women writers that deliberately extend the tradition of The Handmaid’s Tale and echo its now widespread feminist call to action. These ‘contemporary Cassandras’ elaborate Margaret Atwood’s theory that ‘[i]f the future can be described in detail, maybe it won’t happen’ (2017: para. 23), predicting potential futures in the hopes that their writing will incite a resistant response in readers. Drawing on Atwood’s neologism, I contend that the feminist ‘antiprediction’ warrants critical investigation as a new dystopian subgenre that responds to post-2016 cultural crisis whilst invoking a distinctly Gileadean discourse. Brewed in a tumultuous socio-political climate epitomised by Brexit, Donald Trump’s presidency, and #MeToo, novels such as Red Clocks, The Power, Future Home of the Living God, An Excess Male and, of course, The Testaments not only reflect a resurgence of interest in Atwood’s ‘feminist parable’ but also re-inscribe her visions for the future

The eruption of this new feminist dystopian canon provides a timely opportunity to investigate literature as a site of confluence between real and imagined futures. Though aligned with the popular and critical resurgence of interest in The Handmaid’s Tale, my research is carefully positioned to interrogate its legacy within contemporary dystopian discourses. Ultimately, I pose two questions vital to Atwood studies and to the entanglements of literary ethics and feminist politics. Firstly, how is The Handmaid’s Tale’s legacy kindled by contemporary women’s dystopian writing? And secondly, how does this shape not only the feminist antiprediction’s vision of the future, but also the feminist utopian imaginary implicit in its calls to action? 

Research Area

  • English Language and Literature
  • Languages and Literature



'"I sing to you / from my place with my righteous kin": Judith Wright's Decolonial Poetics', Postcolonial Studies (forthcoming).

Book Reviews:

Review of Tory Young (ed.), Queer and Feminist Theories of Narrative (Routledge, 2021) for The Journal of Languages, Texts, and Society, Vol. 5 (2021). 


'Decolonising Reproductive Dystopias: Louise Erdrich's Future Home of the Living God' - SF + Extraction (online), LSFRC 2022.

'Subverting Settler Futures in Louise Erdrich's Future Home of the Living God' - The Global Fantastic (online), IAFA/VICFA 2022.

Public Engagement & Impact

  • Book review editor for the Journal of Languages, Texts and Society (2021-22).
  • Co-organiser for Image(s) and Identities, the 5th Annual LTS conference.

Other Research Interests

  • Feminist utopianism within and without literature.
  • Postcolonial literature and decolonial literary theory.
  • Literary ethics in the twenty-first century.
  • Popular fiction, politics, and constructions of the 'literary' in opposition to the 'lowbrow'.


  • Member of the British Association for Contemporary Literary Studies (BACLS).
  • Member of the British Science Fiction Association (BSFA).
  • Member of the Margaret Atwood Society. 
  • Member of the London Science Fiction Research Community (LSFRC).
  • Member of the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts (IAFA).

Scholarships and Prizes

  • Midlands4Cities AHRC Doctoral Studentship Award (2022-25).
  • African Excellence Postgraduate Award (University of Nottingham, 2020-2021).
  • David Adolph Bradlow Scholarship for Humanities (Rhodes University, 2019).
  • Dr Kendall Scholarship for Postgraduate Study (Rhodes University, 2019).
  • Rhodes University Honours Degree Scholarship (Rhodes University, 2018).
  • WD Terry Memorial Prize (Rhodes University, 2017).
  • The Cambridge University Press Prize (Rhodes University, 2016).