An academic talks with students in a seminar.

Academic and Teaching Staff A-Z

  • Head of Department
    Helen Smith
  • Deputy Head of Department
    Matthew Townend 

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


Nicoletta Asciuto

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

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.

Derwent College D/J/102
Tel: 01904 323354

David Attwell
BA (Natal), MA (Cape Town), PhD (Texas)

David Attwell joined the Department in January 2006 as Professor of Modern Literature from his role as Head of English at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. He has published widely in the fields of anglophone African literature, South African literature, and postcolonial studies. His most well-known work is on J.M. Coetzee.


Clare Bielby

BA (Cantab), MA (Sussex), PhD (Edinburgh)

Grimston House V/X/308
Tel: 01904 323673

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 focussed on political violence, terrorism and gender, and she is particularly interested in questions of subjectivity and narratives of the violent and revolutionary self.

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.

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.

Derwent College D/J/215B
Tel: 01904 323356

Trev Broughton
BA, DPhil (York)

Trev Broughton is a Reader in Victorian Literature. As well as teaching the ‘canon’ of Victorian literature, she specializes in lesser-known forms from the period such as diaries, letters, journalism and autobiography. She also collaborates with local museums and archives, especially the National Railway Museum, and encourages students to do the same.


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.

Derwent College D/J/107
Tel: 01904 324216

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

Claire Chambers is a Senior Lecturer in Global Literature and works as the department’s Graduate Research Chair (responsible for PhDs and other research 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 newspaper 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.

Victoria Coulson

Derwent College D/J/202
Tel: 01904 323348

MA, MPhil, PhD (Cantab)
Senior Lecturer

Victoria Coulson is a Senior Lecturer in Modern Literature. She teaches on our nineteenth- and early twentieth-century American and British literature modules in the department and is an expert on Henry James.

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

Senior Lecturer

Mary Fairclough joined the Department in 2012 from the University of Huddersfield. Her research interests lie in the interrelation of literary, scientific and political discourse during the period 1750-1850, in particular eighteenth-century theories of communication, print culture and the public sphere, and the science of electricity.


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/007
Tel: 01904 324569

Alice Hall
MA, 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 literature and medicine. 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/001
Tel: 01904 323343

Hugh Haughton
BA (Cantab), MA (Oxon)

Hugh Haughton works in the field of modernism, modern poetry and poetics; the literature of nonsense; letters and life-writing; and twentieth-century Irish literature. He is the author of The Poetry of Derek Mahon (OUP, 2007), the first full-scale study of a major contemporary Irish poet, as well as numerous essays on twentieth-century poetry.


Holly James-Maddocks
Derwent College D/J/224
Tel: 01904 323023

BA (Warwick); MA (York); MA (Toronto); PhD (York)

Holly James-Maddocks is a Lecturer in Medieval Literature and Palaeography. Holly’s research is in the area of late medieval English manuscripts and early printed books, and she’s especially interested in the production and circulation of works by Chaucer and his fifteenth-century poetic imitators.


Derwent College D/J/114
Tel: 01904 324571

Adam Kelly
MA (York), BA, PhD (University College Dublin)
Senior Lecturer

Adam Kelly is a Senior Lecturer in American literature. He teaches undergraduate modules in 19th, 20th, and 21st-century American writing, and a postgraduate module in 21st-century political fiction and film. His research is mostly on the novel, and he is also interested in literary theory and the history of ideas. He is currently writing a book about the aesthetics and politics of sincerity in contemporary American fiction.

Derwent College D/J/021
Tel: 01904 323363

Kevin Killeen
BA, MA, PhD (London)

Kevin Killeen is a Professor in Renaissance Literature. He teaches on early modern courses, including Shakespeare and Milton, and is particularly interested in the politics of literature and the Bible in Literature. He also enjoys the gruesome medicine, anatomy and science of the sixteenth and seventeenth century.

Alexandra Kingston-Reese

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

BA (Victoria University of Wellington, NZ), BA Hons (University of Sydney), PhD (Sydney)

Alexandra Kingston-Reese is a 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.

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 1780-1830. He is interested in the role of print and sociability in the circulation of ideas, and is currently working on the Northern Powerhouse in the Industrial Revolution, including the ‘invention’ of the idea of Literature.

Derwent College D/J/127
Tel: 01904 323346

S.M.J. Minta
BA (Oxon), DPhil (Sussex)
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, Professor of Modern Literature, teaches modules on modern and contemporary drama, on modern and contemporary British, Irish and American literature, and on the European avant-garde. Her current research explores intersections between literature and politics and between literature and technology. She is an expert in 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.


Derwent College D/L/141
Tel: 01904 323355

Bryan Radley
BA (Dublin), MA, PhD (York)

Bryan Radley is Lecturer in Modern Literature and the Department’s Admissions Tutor. His research interests focus on humour, Irish literature, and modern and contemporary fiction. He teaches widely across the curriculum, with an emphasis on American, British, and Irish writing from 1900 to the present.

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

B.A. (University of Pennsylvania), Ph.D. (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. 

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

MA (Glasgow), MA (Sussex), PhD (Leeds)

Hannah Roche is Lecturer in Twentieth-Century Literature and Culture. She teaches modules on queer literature and cultural history, modernist fiction and poetry, and creative writing. Hannah has published on writers including Gertrude Stein, Radclyffe Hall, Djuna Barnes, Amy Lowell, and D. H. Lawrence.

Derwent College D/J/223
Tel: 01904 323339

Richard Rowland
BA (York), MPhil, DPhil (Oxon)
Senior Lecturer

Richard Rowland is Senior Lecturer in drama and literature. His special interests are the editing and performance of Renaissance plays, and the reception and modern reinventions of ancient Greek theatre.

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

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

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)

Derwent College D/J/226
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 teaches on our Renaissance modules, and 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.


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/122
Tel: 01904 323334

Geoffrey Wall
BA (Sussex), BPhil (Oxon)

Geoffrey Wall is Professor of Modern European Literature and also a literary biographer. He has translated several of Flaubert’s novels for Penguin Classics. His current project is a biography of George Sand, the major woman writer of French Romanticism. He also has a strong interest in oral history and is working on a compilation of life-history interviews with political activists.

Derwent College D/J/106
Tel: 01904 323338

Richard Walsh
BA (Leeds), PhD (Cantab)

Richard Walsh is a Professor in Modern Literature and Director of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Narrative Studies. He teaches modules in American literature and in theories of story, covering fiction and non-fiction, the earliest years of cinema, and graphic novels, as well as narratives in digital and interactive media.

Kings Manor K/173B
Tel: 01904 324978

James Watt
BA, MA, PhD (Cantab)
Senior Lecturer

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)

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/J/218A
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.


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.