Milbank studied theology and English literature at the University of Cambridge and then completed a doctorate at the University of Lancaster. She was the John Rylands Research Institute Fellow at the University of Manchester and, after temporary lectureships at Cambridge and the University of Middlesex, taught in the English department at the University of Virginia in the United States for five years.
Milbank's research and teaching focuses on the relation of religion to culture in the post-Enlightenment period, with particular literary interest in non-realist literary and artistic expression, such as the Gothic, the fantastic, horror and fantasy. Most recently, she has published a book on the Catholic poetics of J. R. R. Tolkien and G. K. Chesterton. She is currently working on a book which will trace the theological history of the emergence of the Gothic from the pre-Reformation period to the present day.
Milbank is married to the theologian John Milbank who is one of the principal exponents of Radical Orthodoxy. She is now an associate Professor at the University of Nottingham in the department of Theology and Religious Studies. She is also a priest of the Church of England, and holds the position of Priest Vicar at Southwell Minster.
- Dante and the Victorians. Manchester University Press. 1998. ISBN 978-0-7190-3700-9.
- Chesterton and Tolkien as theologians: the fantasy of the real, T & T Clark, 2007, ISBN 978-0-567-04094-7
- Ann Ward Radcliffe (1995). Alison Milbank, ed. The castles of Athlin and Dunbayne. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-282357-1.
- Ann Ward Radcliffe (2008). Alison Milbank, ed. A Sicilian Romance. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-953739-6.
- Milbank, Alison (1992). Daughters of the House: modes of the gothic in Victorian fiction. Basingstoke: Macmillan. ISBN 978-0333566152.
- Alison Milbank, ed. (2007). Beating the traffic: Josephine Butler and Anglican social action on prostitution today. Winchester: George Mann. ISBN 0955241545.
- Milbank, Alison; Davison, Andrew (2010). For the Parish: a critique of fresh expressions. London: SCM Press. ISBN 978-0334043652.
- Interview with Dr Alison Milbank author of Chesterton and Tolkien as Theologians, Tolkien Library, 22.10.07