COTN Keynote Speakers 2023

Gareth Cox is a specialist on Hammer Film Productions.

"I'm now knocking on the door of 60 years of age and have a number of passions in my life, music, motorcycles and have never known a time when I've not been passionate about Gothic horror. As a child when my friends were interested in super heroes there was only one Batman for me and that was Dracula.

From an early age when my mum and dad would let me stay up at night to watch horror films, I've had an obsession about British horror from the 1950s to the late 1970s.

The production houses of Amicus, Tygon but most of all Hammer with all of their gothic creations have fascinated me."

Marius-Mircea Crișan, Dr Habil (PhD 2008 Univer­sity of Turin, Italy) is Associate Professor at the Teacher Train­ing Dept., West Univer­sity of Timișoara. He is the edi­tor of Dracula: An Internation­al Perspective (Palgrave Macmil­lan, Springer Nature 2017), coordinator of the special issue of Biblioteca Nova Bulletin "Speculative Fiction and the Frontiers of the Possible" (2019), au­thor of The Birth of the Dracula Myth: Bram Stoker’s Transylva­nia (2013) and The Impact of a Myth: Dracula and the Fictional Repre­sentation of the Romanian Space (2013), and co-editor of the volume Beliefs and Behaviours in Education and Culture: Cultural Determinants and Education (2017). He was the manager of the research project The impact of a Myth: Dracula and the Image of Ro­mania in British and American Literatures (2011-2013).

Yuri Garcia is a Professor of the Postgraduate Program in Communication at the University of the State of Rio de Janeiro (PPGCom-UERJ). Doctor and Master in Social Communication in the Communcation Post-Graduate Program at the University of the State of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ). Post-Doctoral Researcher at Universidade Anhembi Morumbi. Held a Post-Doctoral internship at the University of the State of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ) with research on Transpositions of Comics in Cinema (2019-2020). Coordinator of the research group "POPMID: Reflections on Gender² and Trends in Media Productions". Author of the book "Drácula: o vampiro camaleônico" (2014), conducts research on Cinematographic Genres (especially Horror) and cinematographic transpositions of literary works and comics.

Magdalena Grabias is an Assistant Professor and a Deputy Head of the Institute of Cultural Studies at Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin, Poland. She received her PhD in Cultural Studies in 2012. She specialises in Film Studies, Gothic Studies, Dracula Studies, literary translation and music journalism. She was a co-organiser of the Fourth World Dracula Congress in Dublin (2016) as well as numerous conferences in Poland and abroad. She is a co-founder of the international organisation “Children of the Night” and a co-organiser of International Dracula Congress series. Her academic publications include books: Songs of Innocence and Experience: Romance in the Cinema of Frank Capra (UK, 2013), Visual Culture: Art, Popular Culture and Digital Media (ed.) (Poland, 2020), as well as numerous articles in English, Polish and Romanian propagating film, music and theatre viewed from the perspective of philosophy, semiotics, anthropology and popular culture. Over the last decade, her academic interest has been focused on Dracula and Vampire Studies, which resulted in a series of articles discussing the subject of literary and cinematic vampires and their meaning in contemporary culture. In 2019 she received the prestigious “International Helion Award” from the science fiction cultural association “Helion” in Timișoara, Romania. In 2022, “Children of the Night” International Dracula Congress, co-organised by dr Magdalena Grabias, was nominated for a prestigious American “Rondo Hatton Award” in the category of “Best Event 2022”.


William Hughes taught for a quarter of a century in the British university system before joining the University of Macau as Professor of Literature in English in 2020. He is the author, editor, or co-editor of more than 20 books in the fields of Gothic and medical history, including Beyond Dracula: Bram Stoker’s Fiction and its Cultural Context (2000), The Historical Dictionary of the Gothic (2013), That Devil’s Trick: Hypnotism and the Victorian Popular Imagination (2015), Key Concepts in the Gothic (2018), and The Dome of Thought: Phrenology and the Victorian Popular Imagination (2022). He is currently writing a monograph on Victorian spiritualism and preparing a second edition of The Historical Dictionary of Gothic. 

Gilles Menegaldo is an emeritus professor of American literature and film studies at the University of Poitiers. Founder and former head of the Film Studies Department. He has published abourt 150 articles on gothic literature and cinema, horror films, film noir, Science Fiction, comedies and other film genres. Book: Dracula, la noirceur et la grâce (with A-M Paquet-Deyris, 2006). As editor or co-editor, 35 collections of essays among which: R. L. Stevenson et A. Conan Doyle (with JP Naugrette, 2003), Jacques Tourneur, une esthétique du trouble (2006), Film and History, (2008), European and Hollywood Cinema: Cultural Exchanges, (2012). Latest books as editor: King Vidor, odyssée des inconnus, (with J-M Lecomte, CinémAction, 2014,  Le western et les mythes de l’ouest (with L. Guillaud), UP Rennes, 2015, Sherlock Holmes, un limier pour le XXIème siècle (with H. Machinal et J-P Naugrette),  UP Rennes, 2016, Lovecraft au prisme de l’image (with C. Gelly), le Visage vert, 2017, Tim Burton, a Cinema of Transformations (PULM Montpellier, 2018), Spectres de Poe (with J. Dupont), le Visage vert, 2020, Le Goût du noir (with M. Petit), Rennes University Press, 2021, Dark Recesses in the House of Hammer (with M. Boissonneau and A-M Paquet-Deyris), Peter Lang, January 2022, Hammer, laboratoire de l’horreur moderne, (with M. Boissonneau and A-M Paquet-Deyris), Le Visage vert, January 2023.

Philippe Met is Professor of French and Cinema Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, former Chair of French, and Editor-in-Chief of French Forum. He has published widely on poetry, fantastic literature, genre/auteur film and graphic novels. In addition to over 100 articles, single-authored and edited books include: Formules de la poésie. Études sur Ponge, Leiris, Char et Du Bouchet (1999); (co-ed.) Les Aventures de Harry Dickson: scénario pour un film non réalisé par Alain Resnais (2007); La Lettre tue. Spectre(s) de l’écrit fantastique (2009); (co-ed.) Screening the Paris Suburbs 1895-1995 (2017); (ed.) The Cinema of Louis Malle, Transatlantic Auteur (2018); Ponge et le cinéma (2019); (ed.) Louis Malle dans tout ses états (2022). He is currently completing a book-length manuscript on the Italian giallo, and developing another on phantom cinema.


Mark Olly was born in 1962 in Warrington, England, and educated at Appleton Hall County Grammar School, Warrington College Of Art & Design, the University Of Liverpool Institute Of Extension Studies field archaeology unit, various business schools, and El-Shaddai College Of Advanced Ministry U.K. Manchester where he obtained a Certificate Of Ministry (Ct.Min.AP) and Diploma Of Biblical Studies (Dip.BS.AP).


For over 22 years he worked as a professional musician, live DJ, compare, and in music management, founding Angelharp Music, Unicorn Entertainments Agency Ltd. and Legendthink Ltd. (one of the first ‘multi-media’ companies in the world) before moving on to pursue a solo career as a writer, archaeologist and television presenter.  This career has so far taken him to all parts of the UK, France, Egypt, Norway, Italy, Bulgaria, Cyprus, South America, Turkey, Malta, and North Africa in search of the ancient and the mysterious.


He has nine major books in print, appeared on Carlton Television’s ‘The History Detectives’, wrote and presented all three seasons (22 episodes) of ITV Granada’s award nominated ‘Lost Treasures’ adventure archaeology series, has presented for Sky History Channel, and featured on popular US series ‘Ancient Aliens’, writes, presents, directs, and has produced several Music Videos, occasionally appears in movies, and recently played sessions as drummer with bands Soul Path, Sacred Wind, Wolf and Copperworm.


He is visiting lecturer at Wilsmlow Guild and the University Of Chester, occasionally heads up his own archaeological unit, and runs his own DVD production and props company MythCo.

Enriquе A. Palafox is a crеativе profеssional with a divеrsе journеy spanning ovеr two dеcadеs in dеsign, mеdia, and contеnt crеation. His path еncompassеs various arеas, from graphic dеsign to transmеdia storytеlling, along with acadеmic achiеvеmеnts, including a PhD in Modеrn Litеraturе and a Mastеr's dеgrее in Communications. Palafox sеamlеssly blеnds his acadеmic background with a dееp passion for pop culturе, еspеcially in thе rеalm of Dracula and its transmеdia adaptations.


Rеcognizеd as a spеakеr and consultant both nationally and intеrnationally, Palafox's еxpеrtisе еxtеnds across domains such as visual communication, transmеdia storytеlling, and thе global influеncе of art and dеsign. Throughout his journеy, Palafox's uniquе combination of knowlеdgе and crеativе еnthusiasm has contributеd to thе dynamic crеativе landscapе and acadеmia.


In addition to his acadеmic pursuits, Dr. Palafox rеcеntly achiеvеd a significant milеstonе in thе world of Dracula еditions with thе publication of "THE BOOK OF DRACULA: THE MINA HARKER TRANSCRIPTIONS." This еffort is thе rеsult of ovеr 7 yеars of dеdicatеd study of Bram Stokеr's work. Dr. Palafox aimеd to prеsеrvе thе еssеncе and stylе of thе original tеxt whilе staying truе to thе author's vision. Through his dееp knowlеdgе of thе work and еxpеriеncе in transmеdia storytеlling, Dr. Palafox has offеrеd rеadеrs an immеrsivе way to еxpеriеncе this classic narrativе by еngaging thеm dirеctly in thе storytеlling procеss.


His acadеmic background and passion for Bram Stokеr's work havе providеd a uniquе pеrspеctivе that bеnеfits both thе acadеmic and crеativе communitiеs. As a spеakеr and consultant, Dr. Palafox continuеs to makе valuablе contributions to visual communication, transmеdia storytеlling, and art and dеsign on a global scalе.

Cristian Pralea has a PhD in American Culture Studies from Bowling Green State University with a thesis building a philosophy of cyberspace. He now teaches in the American Studies program of the Literature and Cultural Studies Department at Transilvania University of Brasov. His interests lie in the fields of digital culture, popular culture at large, and the way they intersect with contemporary politics.

Hans Corneel de Roos studied Political & Social Sciences at the University of Amsterdam and the Free University, Berlin; graduated cum laude in 1975. He made a career in Public Administration and in the financial field; his true passions, however, were (and are) Art, Art History and Photography. He got involved in Dracula Studies in 2010 while preparing a photo-illustrated Dracula edition. Since then, he has made a series of groundbreaking discoveries about the true locations of Castle Dracula, the Scholomance and Carfax, the lifetime identity of Count Dracula, the Icelandic and Swedish versions and the first US serialization of Dracula. De Roos is the translator/editor of Powers of Darkness (New York: Overlook, 2017), and contributed to Dracula–An International Perspective (ed. Marius Crișan, Palgrave, 2017). He was the Acting Editor of Letter from Castle Dracula, the bulletin of the Transylvanian Society of Dracula (2013-2016) and is the author of numerous articles about Stoker’s novel. He received the Research Award from the Transylvanian Society of Dracula and the Lord Ruthven Special Award 2018. He is the initiator of the Fourth World Dracula Congress in Dublin (2016) and the “Children of the Night” International Dracula Conference series. In 2021, he won the Golden Bat Award for his video documentary about Philippine vampires.

Sean Rourke is a film editor, director, vampire specialist.

"By day, I work in the Hollywood Movie Industry as an editor.  I have credits on such films as Avengers Infinity War, Guardians of the Galaxy 3, Godzilla vs Kong, and Twilight Breaking Dawn part 1 for some vampire cred.  (Kind of). By night, I run a YouTube Channel called “The Vampire’s Castle” which is entirely about vampires, and in specific, it’s about writing and storytelling in the vampire genre."