Taryn Tavener-Smith

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Taryn Tavener-Smith (1988-) is an academic and researcher in the field of English Studies.


Born on 13 January 1988 in Johannesburg, Taryn developed an appreciation for literature and theatre from an early age. These interests in the arts were nurtured by both her parents, who spent countless hours accompanying her to countless productions at the Johannesburg Civic Theatre (now known as the Joburg Theatre).

Taryn relocated to South East England in 2017 where she now lives and continues to appreciate the South African arts from afar.

Taryn is researcher in English Studies with the University of Stirling in the United Kingdom. Her doctoral project considers the liminality of subjects through the medium of non-fiction life writing focusing on the South African film context.

Taryn's other research interests extend to the Gothic literary genre with a particular focus on contemporary representations of the monstrous-feminine, spectres, madness, and vampires. She also holds an affinity for the multidisciplinary application of Victor Turner's Theory of Liminality.

Early years and training

Taryn completed her Bachelor of Art (Honours) in Psychology and English Literature at the University of Johannesburg in 2011 and 2014, respectively.

While reading towards her Master's degree in English Literature with the University of Johannesburg in 2017, Taryn relocated to South East England where she completed her Master's degree in 2019. It was during this time that she began conceptualising the framework for her current doctoral research.


While reading towards her Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degrees, Taryn worked as a Tutor for English Studies in the Department of English at the University of Johannesburg between 2011-2014.

In 2014, she started working for ADvTech’s IIE Varsity College as a Lecturer for English Literature. During this time, she served as Module and Programme Lead on the Bachelor of Art (English Literature stream) programme.

In 2019 Taryn started working as a Lecturer at Buckinghamshire New University in the United Kingdom, where she currently works. Taryn became a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2020.

Contribution to South African theatre, film, media and performance

Her doctoral dissertation entitled: Forging liminal identities through film while uncovering the man behind the scenes: A Paul Eilers Biography looks at one of the leading actor/directors of the second half of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st centuries.

Taryn is a contributor to ESAT.

Publications & Conference Presentations

Tavener-Smith, T. (2022) "Adapting representations of death from page to screen in Susan Hill's The Woman in Black (1983)’, Revenant: Critical and Creative Studies of the Supernatural. ISSN 2397-8791.

Tavener-Smith, T. (2021) "Transmigration, space and time in Slade House", Interdisciplinary Journal of Mobility Studies. 11(2).

International Gothic Association presents 50+ Shades of Gothic - PopMec 2021: ‘Lacunas, orisons, and attics: David Mitchell’s Slade House (2015) as Gothic locus’ (Madrid).

Progressive Connexions: Evil Women September 2021: ‘Evil transgressions and the monstrous female vampire’ (Vienna).


E-mail submission by Taryn Tavener-Smith, 1 August 2023.

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