Landscape image of Ellen Terry Building

Dr Sarah Turner

Assistant Professor in English (Stylistics)

Faculty of Arts and Humanities

 Quick links


Dr Turner is an Assistant Professor in the School of Humanities, where she leads and teaches the Stylistics modules at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, and the Level 6 Language, Identity and Power module. She supervises undergraduate and postgraduate dissertation projects, particularly in the fields of stylistics and critical discourse analysis, and is currently on the supervision team for three PhD candidates. She is also the course director for the MA English and Education Management course, and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Career overview

Dr Turner received her PhD from the University of Birmingham in 2014, before moving to Japan to take up a position as Project Assistant Professor at the University of Tokyo. She returned to the University of Birmingham in 2016 as a postdoctoral research and teaching fellow, and was employed by Coventry University in September 2018.  


Dr Turner is a cognitive linguist whose work focuses on the analysis of metaphor and figurative language. Her main research interest lies in the analysis of figurative language production to provide insights into physical, psychological and social experiences, with a current focus on the experience of grief and bereavement. She is particularly interested in how individuals use figurative language in creative ways to help them to understand, conceptualise and communicate their experiences, and how an analysis of such language can be used to inform better bereavement care. 

From 2016-18, she was a postdoctoral research fellow on the ESRC-funded Death Before Birth project based at the University of Birmingham, then from 2019-2021 she was a co-investigator on a project funded by the True Colours Trust aimed at improving communication with parents and carers following the death of a child. She is now collaborating on a number of related projects, including a large project funded by L’Agence Nationale de la Recherche investigating the discourse on perinatal death in the French context ("Les mots me manquent": Nommer l'Indicible, 2022-2026).

You can follow Dr Turner’s research here: 

Pure Profile:  

External activities

Dr Turner has spoken at a number of events, including the Hay Festival, the Blink Festival (Chester), and the Good Grief Festival, and has co-authored articles for a range of professional publications. She has also contributed to CPD training for midwives, registrars and funeral directors on communication with parents bereaved through pregnancy loss or child loss, and has spoken at a number of events organised by professional bodies, including the NAFD AGM and the National Funeral Exhibition.

She is the Secretary of the Association for Researching and Applying Metaphor, and an Ordinary Member on the University English Executive Committee. She is also an External Examiner at Bishop Grosseteste University, and has examined PhD theses for Rhodes University and the University of Peshawar. 

Publications and press

Journal articles and book chapters (selected)

  • Turner, S., Littlemore, J., Parr, E., Taylor, J., & Topping, A. (2022). ‘Lights in the darkness’, Part 2: Characterising effective communication with professional groups following the death of a child. Mortality
  • Turner, S., Littlemore, J., Parr, E., Taylor, J., & Topping, A. (2022). ‘Lights in the darkness’, Part 1: Characterising effective communication with professional groups following the death of a child. Mortality
  • Turner, S., Littlemore, J., Parr, E., Taylor, J., & Topping, A. (2022). ‘Metaphors that shape parents’ perceptions of effective communication with healthcare practitioners following child death: a qualitative UK study’. BMJ Open 12(1).
  • Fuoli, M., Littlemore, J., & Turner, S. (2021). ‘Sunken ships and screaming banshees: Metaphor and evaluation in film reviews.’ English Language and Linguistics 26(1), 75-103. 
  • Kuberska, K., Fuller, D., Littlemore, J., McGuinness, S. and Turner, S. (2020). ‘Death before Birth: Liminal Bodies and Legal Frameworks.’ Ed. C. Dietz, M. Travis, & M. Thomson. A Jurisprudence of the Body. London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 149-178.
  • Tovey, R., & Turner, S. (2020). Stillbirth memento photography. Journal of Visual Communication in Medicine, 43(1), 2-16.
  • Littlemore, J., & Turner, S. (2020). Metaphors in communication about pregnancy loss. Metaphor and the Social World, 10(1), 45-75.
  • Turner, S., Littlemore, J., Burgess, M., Fuller, D., McGuinness, S., & Kuberska, K. (2020). The production of time-related metaphors by people who have experienced pregnancy loss. In A. Gargett & J. Barnden (Eds.), Producing Figurative Expression. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, pp. 389-418.
  • Littlemore, J., & Turner, S. (2019). What Can Metaphor Tell Us About Experiences of Pregnancy Loss and How Are These Experiences Reflected in Midwife Practice? Frontiers in Communication, 4.
  • Littlemore, J., Krennmayr, T., Turner, J. and Turner, S. (2014). An Investigation into Metaphor Use at Different Levels of Second Language Writing. Applied Linguistics 35(2), 117-144.

Press articles

These articles constitute press coverage for the Death Before Birth project, on which Dr Turner was a postdoctoral research fellow from 2016-18.  

 Queen’s Award for Enterprise Logo
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2023