Helen teaches across a range of subjects for our literature and creative writing team with particular expertise in literature and creative writing for children and young adults, science fiction and fantasy and fairy tales. Helen’s scholarship has led to the Live Literature Project which involves students working with a range of employers and community organisations. Helen is a National Teaching Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She supervises both literature and creative writing postgraduate projects on literature for children and young adults, science fiction and fantasy.
Helen specialises in teaching literature and creative writing for children and young adults, science fiction and fantasy and fairy tales. She is particularly interested in narrative and empathy and in unreliable narration in literature for children and young adults. She is the Course Leader of the BA English Literature & Creative Writing and BA English Language and Creative Writing. Helen welcomes postgraduate proposals at Masters by Research and PhD in any area of children's and young adult fiction, especially science fiction and fantasy. She is currently working on lying and unreliable narrators in children's and young adult fiction, exploring the difference between unreliable narrators and those who admit to lying to the reader.
Helen has taught at a number of institutions and across a range of disciplines. She obtained her first degree in English Literature and Experience of Writing at the University of Derby and her MA and PhD at Lancaster University. From 1996-2003 Helen taught English Literature at Lancaster University. She was a visiting lecturer at the University of Adelaide on the MA Gastronomy in 2004, and has been teaching at the University of Central Lancashire since 2005 in a number of roles. In 2016 Helen was a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Ohio, US focusing on unreliable narration in YA Fiction. Her doctoral thesis focused on Victorian dining and cookery books, including 'Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management' (1861), and she retains an interest in writing about food, dining and manners. She has delivered public lectures on Mrs Beeton at Kensington House in London and has run adult education courses on Great Chefs Through the Ages and a North West Gastronomic Tour. For many years she ran an MA in Writing for Children. Helen was a Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Research-Informed Teaching at the University of Central Lancashire for two years and from 2005 to 2010, she was the Senior Research Fellow for the Centre of Excellence in Teaching and Learning Employability (ceth) at the University of Central Lancashire. She created the UCLan Employability Framework. Helen has published pedagogic research on learning on the language-literature border and on employability, including a report on 'Work-related Learning in English' (2010) for the English Subject Centre. Helen uses her background in employability to teach modules that feature employability, careers development, research skills, live projects and dissertation preparation. She runs the annual Language, Literature and Creative Writing Dissertation conference and the Live Literature Project which enables students to use their passions for Literature and Creative Writing on projects involving schools, libraries, charities and communities. Such projects have involved delivering sessions on book reviews across Lancashire as part of the Lancashire Book of the Year, a poetry competition for schools as part of World Book Day, running Preston’s first Comic-con event at the Harris Library, updating the criteria for the Carnegie Book Award after a diversity review and producing ebooks of student and alumni work. Helen is also the editor of the student-run journal Diffusion: The UCLan Journal of Undergraduate Research (2019+) http://diffusion.uclan.ac.uk. Helen’s research interests cover narrative, empathy and unreliable narration in literature for children and young adults and pedagogic research in employability and work-related learning in English. Her research outputs include: ‘The Irrepressible, Unreliable, Lying Tracy Beaker: From Page to Screen’ in New Casebook: Jacqueline Wilson (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015); 'Simulacra, Sacrifice and Survival in The Hunger Games, Battle Royale and The Running Man’, Of Blood and Poetry: Essays on The Hunger Games (MacFarland Press, 2012); Work-Related learning in English, (English Subject Centre, 2010); ‘Helicopters, Jigsaws, Plaits: Revealing the Hidden Language and Literature Curriculum’, Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition and Culture. 7: 3 (2007).
- PhD English/Cultural Studies, Lancaster University (British Academy Sponsorship), 2002
- MA Contemporary Literature, Lancaster University (Distinction), 1997
- BA (Hons.) English Literature with Experience of Writing, University of Derby (First), 1996
- National Teaching Fellow, Higher Education Academy, 2013
- Lying and Unreliable Narrators
- Narrative Theory
- Writing for Children and Young Adults
- Live Projects and Employability in Humanities-related Subjects
- Member of the Association of National Teaching Fellows (ANTF)
- Reviewer for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education
- Reviewer for the National Teaching Fellowships and National Teaching Fellowship Projects since 2008
- Chair of the Judging Panel Lancashire Book of the Year 2013
- Board Member of Lancaster Litfest 2016-17