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Academic and Teaching Staff A-Z

  • Head of Department
    Helen Smith
  • Deputy Head of Department
    Nicola McDonald 

With over forty members of staff, we are one of the largest and most active English departments in the country.

We are also a very international department, with colleagues from Canada, France, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa and the USA.

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O   P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z   |   Part-time tutors


Derwent College D/J/218B
Tel: 01904 323341

Nicoletta Asciuto
BA (UCSC Milano), MPhil (TCD), PhD (Dunelm)

Nicoletta Asciuto is a Lecturer in Modern Literature. She is currently writing a book on electric light and early twentieth-century poetry, and has written on T. S. Eliot. She teaches a module on Modernism and Technology and is a passionate speaker of eight languages.


Sarah Bezan
BA (Winnipeg), MA (McMaster), PhD (Alberta)
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Sarah Bezan is Post-Doctoral Research Associate on Perceptions of Biodiversity Change at The University of York's Leverhulme Centre for Anthropocene Biodiversity and a member of the Department of English and Related Literature. Her research focuses on the entangled social and ecological dimensions of species loss and revival in contemporary British, North American, and Australian literature and visual culture. 


Grimston House V/X/308
Tel: 01904 323673

Clare Bielby
BA (Cantab), MA (Sussex), PhD (Edinburgh)
Senior Lecturer

Clare Bielby joined the Centre for Women’s Studies and the Department of English and Related Literature in February 2017 having previously taught in German Studies at the University of Hull. Her research to date has focused on political violence, terrorism and gender, and she is particularly interested in questions of subjectivity and narratives of the violent and revolutionary self.

Lola Boorman 
BA (TCD), MPhil (Cantab), PhD (York)

Derwent D/J/224
Tel: 01904 324716

Lola is Lecturer in American Literature and Culture. She specialises in 20th and 21st century American fiction, the intersections between literature and linguistics, literary institutions, intellectual and cultural history, and African American film and literature.

Derwent College D/J/200
Tel: 01904 324717

John Bowen
MA (Cantab), PhD (Birmingham)

John Bowen is Professor of Nineteenth-Century Literature and teaches on our Romantic, Victorian and  Modern modules. He is an expert on nineteenth-century fiction, particularly the works of Charles Dickens, Emily and Charlotte Bronte, Wilkie Collins and Anthony Trollope.

Janine Bradbury
BA, MA, PhD (Sheffield)
Derwent College D/J/223
Tel: 01904 323339

Senior Lecturer
Janine Bradbury is a Senior Lecturer in Literature and a specialist in contemporary African American women's wrting and American popular culture.  She has additional interests in Caribbean and Black Atlantic women's writing.  Janine is also an emerging piet and in 2020 was awarded a Poetry London mentoring prize and was shortlisted for the Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition.  She was nominated for a Jerwood/Compton Poetry Fellowship in 2021. 

Derwent College D/J/215A
Tel: 01904 324572  

Jonathan Brockbank
MA, MLitt (Cantab)

Jonathan Brockbank is a Lecturer in Modern Literature, though he has taught in many areas ranging from Romanticism to the Renaissance. His personal research interests include Ruskin and Morris, Cold War literature and films; Westerns and Noirs; Yorkshire Social Realist writing (author and place), traditional music and song of Britain and the USA, and Godzilla.

Francesca BrooksDerwent College D/J/115B
Tel: 01904 323356                                         

BA (Cantab), MA, PhD (King’s College London)
Leverhulme Early Career Fellow

Francesca Brooks is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow (2020-23). Her research brings together medieval and modernist literary and visual culture, exploring the ways in which the early medieval past and its cultural productions have been reimagined and recreated in post-medieval poetry and the arts.



Derwent College D/J/112
Tel: 01904 323360

Matthew Campbell
BA (Dublin), PhD (Cantab)

Matthew Campbell has written widely on poetry from the late eighteenth century up to the present day.  He arrived in York as Professor of Modern Literature in 2011 and he teaches Victorian, Modern and Irish literature. Recent publications include a book about nineteenth-century poetry from and about Ireland and various articles and essays on Irish poetry and poetics.

King's Manor K/284
Tel: 01904 324975

Michele Campopiano
MA (U. di Pisa; SNS Pisa), PhD (SNS Pisa)
Senior Lecturer

Michele Campopiano is a Senior Lecturer in Medieval Latin Literature. He specialises in editing medieval Latin texts, medieval historiography and geography, cultures and literatures of medieval Italy, Franciscan cultural traditions and relationships between Europe and the Middle East in the Middle Ages.

Vahni Capildeo
MA DPhil (Oxon), FRSL

Surya Vahni Priya Capildeo is Writer in Residence at the University of York. They are a Contributing Editor for PN Review and a Contributing Adviser for Blackbox Manifold. Academic interests include silence, place, plurilingualism, and ecopoetics. Practice-based research includes a variety of performance traditions. Capildeo is finishing an eighth full-length poetry collection for Carcanet Press on metamorphoses and journeys, and recently contributed a series of non-fiction dispatches during an online residency for the University of Canberra as part of the Poetry on the Move Festival’s pandemic response.  

Derwent College D/J/122
Tel: 01904 323334

Olivia Carpenter
BA (University of New Mexico), MA (Harvard), PhD (Harvard) 

Olivia Carpenter is a Lecturer in Literature. She specializes in Black Studies, Critical Race Theory, and eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British literature. Her research focuses on race and literary history, especially writings by and about Black Britons during the Abolition era.  

Derwent College D/J/107
Tel: 01904 324216

Claire Chambers
BA (Newcastle), MA, PhD (Leeds)

Claire Chambers is Professor of Global Literature, the author or editor of eight books, and currently supervises ten PhD students. She is interested in modern literature from South Asia, the Arab world, and their diasporas. She enjoys doing collaborative work with schools and writing regular literary columns for newspapers and blogs.  

Derwent College D/J/227
Tel: 01904 324573

K P Clarke
MA, MPhil (Dubl), MA (Cantab), MA DPhil (Oxon)
Senior Lecturer

Kenneth Clarke is a Senior Lecturer in Medieval Literature and teaches Dante, both to undergraduate and postgraduates, and also teaches on the first-year module ‘A World of Literature I’. He is particularly interested in how poetry was copied in medieval manuscripts, and how Dante was read by his contemporaries.

Sophie Coulombeau
Derwent College D/J/115B
Tel: 01904 323331

BA (Oxon), MA (UPenn), PhD (York)

Sophie Coulombeau is a Lecturer in Eighteenth-Century and Romantic Literature. Her specialisms include naming and identity, women's writing, and reading practices in the period 1760-1820. She's also a published novelist and a frequent presenter on BBC Radio 3, and is interested in intersections between critical expertise, creative practice and public engagement.

Victoria Coulson

Derwent College D/J/202
Tel: 01904 323348

MA, MPhil, PhD (Cantab)

Victoria Coulson is a Professor in Modern Literature.  She teaches on our nineteenth- and twentieth-century American and British literature modules in the department and is an expert on Henry James, Elizabeth Bowen, and psychoanalytic theory.

Derwent College D/L/148
Tel: 01904 323068

Brian Cummings
MA, PhD (Cantab), FBA

Brian Cummings is a Professor of Renaissance Literature. Brian teaches on our Renaissance modules, and is an expert on Shakespeare, religion and literature, and the philosophy of literature.



Mary Fairclough
BA (Oxon), MA, PhD (York)

King's Manor K/275B
Tel: 01904 324968


Mary Fairclough is Professor of Eighteenth-Century and Romantic Literature and a member of the interdisciplinary Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies. She teaches on a range of modules on eighteenth-century and Romantic period topics, medical humanities, and affect studies. Her research interests lie in the connections between literary, scientific and political discourse in the period 1750-1850, in particular theories of feeling and emotion, print culture and the public sphere, the science of electricity, and religious devotion.


Nick Gill is the department's printer in residence, joining us one day a week to work with students in Thin Ice Press, our onsite letterpress studio.


Derwent College D/J/226
Tel: 01904 324569

Alice Hall
BA, MPhil, PhD (Cantab)

Alice Hall is a Lecturer in Contemporary and Global Literature. She teaches on modern, contemporary and global literature modules, including third year and MA module options about British and American literature. She is particularly interested in interdisciplinary approaches to literature which explore ideas about health, illness, disability, and cultural representations of the body.

Derwent College D/J/218A
Tel: 01904 323350

Katherine Hunt
BA (Oxon) MRes PhD (London)

Katherine Hunt is a Lecturer in Renaissance Literature. She teaches widely across the early modern period, and on modules that consider the practice and theory of literary study now. Her research investigates the relationship between material culture and literary form in the Renaissance, and is informed by her previous career as a museum curator. 

Shazia Jagot
BA (Leicester) MA (SOAS) PhD (Leicester)
Derwent College D/J/002
Tel: 01904 323361

Shazia Jagot is a Lecturer in Medieval and Global Literature. Shazia’s research interests span across late medieval English literature and the Islamic world. Her current work explores an Arabic presence in the work of Chaucer through the transmission of Arabic scientific and philosophical ideas. Her other interests include visual and material culture, Islam and Sufism, medieval Arabic literature, postcolonial and global literature.

Derwent College D/J/222
Tel: 01904 323023

Holly James-Maddocks
BA (Warwick); MA (York); MA (Toronto); PhD (York)

Holly James-Maddocks is a Lecturer in Medieval Literature and Palaeography. Holly studies manuscript and early print copies of English literature from the late fourteenth to the early sixteenth centuries in order to see what they reveal about their production and use, and thus about literary and cultural history.


Derwent College D/J/021
Tel: 01904 323363

Kevin Killeen
BA, MA, PhD (London)

Kevin Killeen is a Professor in Renaissance Literature. He researches early modern intellectual history, particularly the religious, scientific, and political cultures of seventeenth century England.  He teaches early modern literature, as well as contemporry literature and the bible.  He is editor of Renaissance Studies.  

Derwent College D/J/217B
Tel: 01903 323347

Alexandra Kingston-Reese
BA (Victoria University of Wellington, NZ), BA Hons (University of Sydney), PhD (Sydney)
Senior Lecturer

Alexandra Kingston-Reese is a Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Literature and the Department’s Deputy Admissions Tutor. Alexandra teaches modern, contemporary, and global literature and is an expert on the very contemporary novel. She is particularly interested in the intersections between novels and other art forms.


Kings Manor K/G73
Tel: 01904 324974

Emma Major
BA (Cantab), MA, PhD (York)
Senior Lecturer 

Emma Major is a Senior Lecturer in 18th Century and Romantic Literature and a member of the interdisciplinary Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies at York. She researches various types of literature in the period 1660-1880, including religious writing, women’s writing, and political debate – and often all three at once.

Divna Manolova
BA (Sofia University), MA, PhD (CEU)
CML Postdoctoral Fellow

Divna Manolova is a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Medieval Literature. She specialises in medieval intellectual history and, in particular, in the history of Byzantine science and philosophy. Currently, she is studying cosmological theories and diagrams, as well as the cognitive, emotional and aesthetic experience of space in late Byzantium. Her other interests include medieval epistolography, history of medieval education and Greek palaeography.

Daniel Matore
MA (Cantab), MPhil (Cantab), DPhil (Oxon)
Derwent D/J/007
Tel: 01904 324569

Daniel Matore is Lecturer in Literature.  He specialises in twentieth- and twenty-first-century literature, American literature, and comparative literature.

Kings Manor K/184
Tel: 01904 323920

Nicola McDonald
BA, MA (Toronto), MPhil, DPhil (Oxon)
Senior Lecturer

Nicola McDonald is a Senior Lecturer in Medieval Literature. Her special interest is in Middle English romance, the most popular and most audacious genre of literature to survive from the Middle Ages and the ancestor of much of today’s popular literature (especially science fiction and fantasy literature). She is also interested in medieval women’s literacy and reading practices, in the writing of Geoffrey Chaucer, medieval Chaucer, medieval manuscript culture and much more.

Kings Manor K/G74
Tel: 01904 324986

Jon Mee
MA, PhD (Cantab)

Jon Mee is Professor of Eighteenth Century Studies.  He is an expert in Literature, Politics, and Society in the period 1780-1850.  He is interested in the role of print, sociability, and networks in the circulation of ideas in the period.  He is currently working on the 'Northern Powerhouse' in the Industrial Revolution, including thinking about the position of literature in what Wordsworth called 'this inventive age'.  Is literature a 'useful knowledge'? What role did it play in the age’s idea of itself as one when knowledge expanded to new audiences? Was literary genius different from the inventiveness that produced the steam engine? Out of this work, he has also become increasingly interested in the period’s environmental thinking and the question of the limits to growth. 

Juliana Mensah    
BA (York), MA (Sunderland), PhD (Newcastle)

Derwent D/J/102
Tel: 01904 323354


Juliana Mensah is a Lecturer in English and Creative Writing and teaches on modules on contemporary and global literature, creative writing and creative industries.  She has a particular interest in the uses of creative practice in social justice contexts.  Her debut novel, Castles from Cobwebs, was published in 2021. 

S.M.J Minta
BA (Oxon), DPhil (Sussex)
Derwent D/J/127
Tel: 01904 323346

Senior Lecturer

S.M.J. Minta is a Senior Lecturer. His specialist interests are in the Romantic period, particularly the poetry of Byron; in comparative literature (French, Spanish, and Greek); and in the relationship between literature and politics.

Derwent College D/J/006
Tel: 01904 324219

Emilie Morin
Licence, Maîtrise (Université Rennes 2),
MA (University College Dublin), PhD (Queen's University Belfast)

Emilie Morin is Professor of Modern Literature. She teaches modern and contemporary literature and drama on our BA and MA programmes, and is an expert in transnational modernism and post-1945 literature. 



Kings Manor K/173A
Tel: 01904 324992

Alison O'Byrne
BA (Trinity), PhD (York)
Senior Lecturer

Alison O'Byrne has research interests in the long eighteenth century, with a particular focus on debates about and representations of the city. She has written articles on the building and representation of Westminster Bridge and on pedestrianism in early nineteenth-century London. She is currently completing a book provisionally titled The Art of Walking in London: Representing the Eighteenth-Century City.

Melissa Oliver-Powell
BA, MA, PhD (London)
Derwent D/J/215B
Tel: 01904 3356


Melissa Oliver-Powell joined the department in 2021 as a Lecturer in Film and Literature. She is a comparative film scholar with a background in modern languages and specialises in intersectional feminist and queer theories. She has previously taught at UCL and the University of Exeter and teaches widely across topics in world film and literary studies. 


Derwent College D/L/141
Tel: 01904 323355

Bryan Radley
BA (Dublin), MA, PhD (York)
Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Literature

Bryan Radley's research focuses on Irish literature, humour studies, and modern and contemporary fiction. He teaches modules on twentieth- and twenty-first-century American, British, and Irish writing.  He convenes an Advanced Option Module on Irish Comic Fiction and is an expert on John Banville.

Jane Raisch
Derwent College D/J/201
Tel: 01904 323357

BA (University of Pennsylvania), PhD (University of California, Berkeley)

Jane Raisch is a Lecturer in Renaissance Literature. Her research focuses on the influence of classical antiquity, especially ancient Greek, on Renaissance fiction and she is particularly interested in books as objects and the history of early print. She teaches courses on medieval and Renaissance literature, on ‘being lost’, and is currently fascinated by the history of games. 

Namratha Rao
BA, MSt, DPhil (Oxon)

Namratha Rao is a Lecturer in Early Modern Literature and a member of the interdisciplinary Centre for Renaissance and Early Modern Studies at York. Her research focuses on literature of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, with particular interests in allegory, poetry and poetics, and theories and histories of embodiment, affect and science. 

Hannah Roche
MA (Glasgow), MA (Sussex), PhD (Leeds)
Senior Lecturer

Derwent College D/J/117B
Tel: 01904 323389

Hannah Roche is Senior Lecturer in Twentieth-Century Literature and Culture. She specialises in queer writing of the early twentieth century, modernist fiction and poetry, and narratives of expatriation. Hannah has published on writers including Gertrude Stein, Radclyffe Hall, Djuna Barnes, Amy Lowell, and D. H. Lawrence.

Derwent College D/J/115A
Tel: 01904 323330

Deborah Russell
BA (Oxon), MA, PhD (York)
Senior Lecturer

Deborah Russell came to York from a lectureship at Queen's University Belfast.  Her research interests focus on Gothic fiction, with a particular emphasis on women's writing and discourses of national identity.  She also works on Romantic-era theatre, looking at melodrama, spectacle, and the politics of adaptation.

Gillian Russell
BA (Queen's, Belfast), PhD (Cantab)

King's Manor K/210A
Tel: 01904 323321


Gillian Russell is Professor of Eighteenth-Century Literature.  She is an expert on British and Irish literature and culture of the period 1730-1830, focusing on theatre, gender, sociability, war studies, and print culture, especially the history of printed ephemera.  She teaches on first year, Romantic and eighteenth-century studies modules. 


Erica Sheen
Derwent College D/J/206
Tel: 01904 4718

AGSM, BA (London), PhD (London)
Senior Lecturer

Erica Sheen is a Senior Lecturer in Film and Literature. She is a specialist in the Cold War cinemas of Europe and the USA, and in Cold War Shakespearean cultures. She recently wrote the text for a Shakespeare exhibition in Lithuania, and was invited to the opening ceremony in the Lithuanian parliament in Vilnius.

Derwent College D/J/101 
Tel: 01904 323359

Freya Sierhuis
MA (UvA, Amsterdam), MPhil (Cantab), PhD (European University Institute, Florence)
Senior Lecturer

Freya Sierhuis is a Senior Lecturer in Renaissance Literature. Freya teaches on our Renaissance modules and is an expert in Dutch Golden Age literature. Her research interests include literature and religion, the emotions in early modern culture, and the environment and literature.

Derwent College D/J/123
Tel: 01904 323353

Helen Smith
MA (Glasgow), PhD (York)
Head of Department

Helen Smith is Professor of Renaissance Literature and Head of Department. Helen is an expert in early modern literature, with a particular emphasis on women’s work and writing, material texts, religion and conversion, and natural philosophy and science. She is especially interested in how books are made and used, and is co-founder of Thin Ice Press, the Department’s in-house letterpress printing studio.


Natasha Tanna
BA, MPhil, PhD (Cambridge)

Derwent D/J/118A
Tel: 01904 323351


Natasha Tanna is a Lecturer in World Literature and currently holds a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship (January 2020 to December 2022). She specialises in contemporary literary engagements with queer theory, decolonial theory, and critical race theory. Her areas of expertise include Latin(x) American and Caribbean literature as well as Iberian literature in Spanish and Catalan. 


Kings Manor K/186
Tel: 01904 323922

Matthew Townend
MA, DPhil (Oxon)

Matthew Townend is a Professor in English and Deputy Head of Department. He is an expert on Old Norse (Viking) language and literature, and translated and recorded the soundtrack for the Jorvik Viking Centre in York. He is also very interested in the re-use of medieval language and literature in modern fiction and poetry, from Arthurian legends to Tolkienian fantasy.

Derwent College D/J/100
Tel: 01904 323915

Elizabeth M. Tyler
BA (Yale), MPhil (Glasgow), DPhil (Oxon)

Elizabeth Tyler is Professor of Medieval Literature. Her research and teaching focuses on the literary culture of England from the 9th to the 12th century: that is from the time of Alfred the Great to the time of William of Malmesbury and Geoffrey of Monmouth. Situated at the intersection of literary study with intellectual, social and political history, her work stresses the international nature of English literature and draws attention to the key role England plays in the flourishing of European literary culture across the early and high Middle Ages. 


Derwent College D/J/106
Tel: 01904 323338

Richard Walsh
BA (Leeds), PhD (Cantab)
Professor of Narrative Studies

Richard Walsh is a Professor in the Modern School and Director of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Narrative Studies.  He teaches modules in narrative theory, including in visual media (early film, comics, digital and interactive narratives), and across disciplines (philosophy of mind, cognitive science, AI, music, historiography, complexity science); also American literature, environmental criticism, philosophical aesthetics and literary theory.

Kings Manor K/173B
Tel: 01904 324978

James Watt
BA, MA, PhD (Cantab)

Jim Watt teaches on eighteenth and nineteenth-century modules, and is the convenor of the Intermediate Option Module 'Inventing Britain'. He is especially interested in British identities in relation both to empire and - as explored by the Gothic - the past.

J T Welsch
Derwent College D/J/003
Tel: 01904 324719

BMus (Berklee College of Music, Boston); MAs (Royal Holloway); PhD (Manchester)
Senior Lecturer

JT Welsch joined the department in 2016 as Lecturer in English and Creative Industries, coming from York St John University, where he was a Lecturer and Head of Creative Writing. His research includes twentieth-century American poetry and the contemporary poetry industry. As a poet and scholar, his work is broadly concerned with the relationship between critical and creative practices and the ethics of aesthetic labour.

Derwent College D/L/147
Tel: 01904 323350

Claire Westall
BA (Warwick), MSc (Bristol), PhD (Warwick)
Senior Lecturer

Claire Westall previously taught in the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies at Warwick University. Her research interests include: postcolonial literature and theory, particularly questions of the nation and national identities; postcolonial rethinking of Englishness, Britishness and the legacies of empire; and the economic, cultural and literary consequences of globalisation.

Kings Manor K/191
Tel: 01904 323924

Chloe Wigston Smith
BA (Wellesley), MA (Courtauld Institute of Art), MA, PhD (University of Virginia)
Senior Lecturer

Chloe Wigston Smith is Senior Lecturer in Eighteenth Century Literature. She specializes in the literature and culture of the long eighteenth century, and her research interests include the history of the novel, gender studies, visual and material culture, women's literature, performance and the Atlantic world.

Derwent College D/J/207
Tel: 01904 323340

James Williams
MA (Oxon), PhD (Cantab)
Senior Lecturer

James Williams is Senior Lecturer in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture. His areas of interest are poetry and poetics, the literature of the long nineteenth century (British, American, and French), the literature of nonsense, formal and stylistic dimensions of writing, and the Anglo-American libretto.

Lauren Working
BA (St Andrew's), MA (London), DPhil (Durham)
Derwent College D/J/122
Tel: 01904 323334


Lauren Working is a Lecturer in Early Modern Literature. Her research focuses on Elizabethan and Jacobean literary sociability, politics, and empire, with an interest in material culture and Indigenous anthropology.  


King's Manor K/275D
Tel: 01904 323913

George Younge
BA (King's College, London), MPhil, PhD (Cambridge)

George Younge is a Lecturer in medieval literature. He convenes the Anglo-Saxon module and teaches on a range of other courses about the Middle Ages. George is especially interested in the cultural and linguistic impact of the Norman invasion of England in 1066.


Lydia Zeldenrust
BA (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen), MA (by Research) (Utrecht), PhD (Queen Mary)
Derwent D/J/126
Tel: 01904 324470

Leverhulme Early Career Fellow

Lydia Zeldenrust is a medievalist whose research often extends into the early modern period. Her research takes a transnational approach, working across multiple languages. She is particularly interested in the cross-cultural movement and transmission of texts, and the place of English literary activity and book production in relation to continental Europe. Other interests include translation studies, medieval romance, Arthurian literature, textual materiality and book history, and stories about monsters and shapeshifters.