Dr Helen Lynch

Dr Helen Lynch
Dr Helen Lynch
Dr Helen Lynch


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Telephone Number
+44 (0)1224 272642
Office Address

School of Language and Literature, King's College, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB24 3UB

School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture


Helen Lynch is Reader in Early Modern Literature & Creative Writing. Her research centres on seventeenth-century poetry, politics and gender and she also writes short fiction.

She studied at the University of York (English & Related Literature B.A. and Renaissance Literature M.A.) and received her PhD from the University of Aberdeen. Before taking up her current post in 2012, she taught at the University of York, the University of Łódź, Poland, Nauczycielskie Kolegium JÄ™zyków Obcych, Torun, Poland, and the University of Aberdeen.

She is a Director of the interdisciplinary WORD Centre for Creative Writing and Creative Director for the annual WORD programme in May Festival (2015-19) and student-led, intergenerational, literary cross-arts festival, WayWORD (2020-).

Memberships and Affiliations

Internal Memberships

WORD Centre Co-Director; WORD Programme Co-ordinator May Festival; WayWORD Festival Director; WORD Centre Impact Case Study Lead; Erasmus Co-ordinator and Go-Abroad Tutor; Early Modern Subject Group Chair; Course Co-ordinator ME33CW: Creative Writing for Medics, The Short Story as a Literary Form (Senior Honours) and Daughters of Circe: Acrasia, Cleopatra, Eve (Senior Honours), MLitt. Creative Writing II Prose Fiction (Level 5);Member, Centre for Early Modern Studies; Member, Centre for Medical Humanities; Nan Shepherd Prize for Young Writers Panel Chair.

External Memberships

External Examiner, University of Glasgow MLitt.; HEI Scottish Graduate School of Arts & Humanities Discipline Catalyst +; SGSAH DTP2 Panellist for Creative Arts & Design; Board Member and Trustee, W. Bednarowski Trust; Board Member, Scottish Culture and Traditions Association; Accredited Author, Scottish Book Trust; Foreign Language Editor, Hybris Polish language digital journal of Philosophy; Fellow, Royal Society for the Arts; Member, Society for Renaissance Studies; Member, Renaissance Society of America; Aberdeen City and University Holocaust Memorial Day Committee; University Trustee, Aberdeen International Youth Festival Trust.


Research Overview

Helen Lynch published The Elephant and the Polish Question, a collection of interlinked short stories set in Poland during the collapse of Communism, in 2009. Her second collection, Tea for the Rent Boycompleted with the help of a Creative Scotland Writer's Bursary, was published in 2018. She has also publised widely in literary magazines and anthologies.

Her monograph, Milton and the Politics of Public Speech (Ashgate, Jan 2015), focuses on Samson Agonistes, Paradise Regained and the political prose of Milton and his contemporaries, using Hannah Arendt’s account of the Greek polis to illuminate seventeenth-century oratorical discourse. Book chapter 'Citizenship and Suicide: Shakespeare’s Roman Plays, republicanism and identity in Samson Agonistes' appeared in Conversations: Classical and Renaissance Intertextuality, ed. S. Pugh (Manchester University Press, Dec 2020). 

As well as the literature and politics of the early modern period (especially Milton, Spenser, Shakespeare and the connections between them), she is interested in polemic, rhetoric, genre and gender in the seventeenth century, and in renaissance classical reception. Teaching/research interests outwith this period include medieval literature (especially Chaucer), the genre of romance from the twelfth century to the present, and the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first-century short story. In Creative Writing: short fiction, nature writing, life writing, travel writing, and fictional autobiography. 

Research Areas

Creative Writing

Research Specialisms

  • Creative Writing
  • English Literature 1200 -1700
  • Classical Reception

Our research specialisms are based on the Higher Education Classification of Subjects (HECoS) which is HESA open data, published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence.

Current Research

Book chapter, ‘Citizenship and Suicide: Shakespeare’s Roman Plays, republicanism and identity in Samson Agonistes’, in Conversations: Classical and Renaissance Intertextuality, ed. Syrithe Pugh, (Manchester University Press, Dec 2020 )

Wantoning Virgins and Ridiculous Beauties: rhetoric, gender and cultural history in the age of Milton (monograph); forthcoming 2021.

Working on a series of three articles on Milton, Shakespeare and classical reception, including 'Once, Twice, Three Times A Lady: Milton as Female Orpheus' on gender-fluidity and poetic voice.

Beginning work on two novel-length projects, one of them historical.

Knowledge Exchange

Helen Lynch is Creative Director of the student-led, literary and cross-arts wayWORD Festival (2020 -).  In her role as Director of the WORD Centre for Creative Writing, she curates the annual WORD literary arts progeamme in May Festival (2015-19), and PodFest (2020).

Her responsibilities for the interdisciplinary WORD Centre include co-ordinating the Centre's two overarching research themes: 'Creative Compositions' and 'Mapping the Norh-East'. These involve generating new research, creative work and publications, and a wide range of public engagment projects, activities and events, in collaboration with numerous organisations and charities. A representative sample of current creative partnerships and upcoming projects include:

The Nan Shepherd Prize for Young Writers, with Secondary Schools in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Moray and Angus;(January - July 2021)

Increasing Accessibilty to the Arts adult education project, with Aberdeen City Council and Scottish Culture and Traditions Association (March - June 2021) 

'Elsewhere to Be': creative writing in English, Scots and Polish about identity, migration and belonging (May, 2021); follow-on project with Aberdeen Muslim Women's Association (2021-2).

Elliptical Reading exhibition and event, with Aberdeen Young Carers, Aberdeen Central Library, British Art Show 9, 2020, Aberdeen Art Gallery (July-September 2021)

Doric (North-East Scots) & Cello Project, with SOUND festival, Banff Academy and Walker Road Primary School, Torry (September-December 2021)

Writefest Creative Writing Festival, with Aberdeenshire Libraries (October 2021)

Legacies of Slavery exhibition and event, with Powis Community Centre, St Machar Academy, UoA Libraries & Special Collections (November 2021)

Book Week Scotland events, workshops and readings, with Scottish Book Trust and Stonehaven Library (November 2021)

'What Country, Friends, Is This?', with Centre for Early Modern Studies, Aberdeen Performing Arts and Open Roads Theatre (December 2021)

International Affiliations and Responsibilities:

A member of the Centre for Early Modern Studies http://www.abdn.ac.uk/cems/, she also has continued Polish interests, reflected in her involvement with the Polish-Scottish project at The Elphinstone Institute http://www.abdn.ac.uk/elphinstone, the Polish-Scottish Song & Story Group, Dom-Home-Hame Project and as a Board Member and Trustee of The W. Bednarowski Trust http://www.bednarowskitrust.org/. This organisation funds and administers fellowshis bringing Polish academics in Philosophy to Aberdeen and other Scottish Universities (up to three per year). Since 2010, she has organised the annual European Voices: Polish Writing event at the annual WORD Festival, has been instrumental in the annual Polish-Scottish Cultural Festival (2012- ) with Polish Association Aberdeen, and is Foreign Language Editor for Hybris  Polish language digital journal of Philosophy (2014-). She extablished and sustains partnerships between WORD Centre and Universities of Gdansk and Bydgoszcz, Poland, and the Pomiedzy-Between Festival in the Tri-city of Gdansk-Gdynia-Sopot.

As well as participating in the joint postgraduate programme with University of Curtin, Western Australia, coordinated by her colleague, Dr Wayne Price, she created amd maintains partnership between WORD Centre and Tromsø Academy of Contemporary Art and Creative Writing, University of Tromsø, Norway (2015-).


The Aberdeen Collection: 250 Contemporary Scottish Tunes in Traditional Style, eds. Helen Lynch and Carley Williams (Aberdeen University Press, 2017)

Collaborating with Alan Spence, Jerzy Jarniewcz and David Malcolm in editing and translating a parallel text volume of Contemporary Polish Poetry; also with Alan Spence: co-editing a volume of prose fiction featuring or originating in Aberdeen, as a follow-up to the successful poetry collection Silver: An Aberdeen Anthology ed. Hazel Hutchison and Alan Spence (Birlinn, 2009)

Funding and Grants

In 2020 and 2021, P.I. Creative Scotland Large Open Project Funding, and Principal's Dowry Fund for WayWORD Festival £32,000 

2019 P.I. Creative Scotland Large Open Project Funding and Principal's Dowry Fund for WORDs & ... progeamme in May Festival: £32.000

2016 - 18 P.I. Creative Scotland Open Project Funding for WORD programme in May Festival £11,000

2015 Co-I for WORDUp programme in May Festival £12,000

In 2016-2018, she contributed to two AHRC grant-funded projects: 

Integrating and Engaging with the J. M. Carpenter Folk Music Collection as part ofthe Vaughan Williams Memorial Library’s Digital Archive (2016): £63,000

Enacting  the Past: from the Bennachie Colony to the Tatras (2017): £79,991 follow-on funding

In 2015 and 2016, she obtained Aberdeen City Council Cultural Awards funding of £24,000 resulting in A Puckle o Sangs (Aberdeen University Press, 2015) and The Aberdeen Collection: 250 Contemporary Scottish Tunes in Traditional Style (ed. Lynch and Williams (Aberdeen University Press, 2017) in partnership with Scottish Culture & Traditions Association

In 2012, she was awarded a Carnegie Trust Research Grant of £2,000 to work in Poland on editing and translating for Contemporary Polish Poetry (see Collaborations).

In 2011, Helen Lynch was awarded a Writer's Bursary of £10,000 from Creative Scotland to enable her to work on her second collection of short stories, Tea for the Rent Boy (Wild Harbour, 2018).




Teaching Responsibilities

2020 -2021 Courses in bold

EL1008: Reading Writing

LW004: Literature in the Classical World

EL2011: Encounters with Shakespeare

EL30DP: Knights, Virgins and Viragos: Chaucer and Medieval Writing

EL3008: Writing Revolt: Literature & Politics in the Seventeenth-Century

EL35YB: Creativity and Craft

EL40XR: Transformations of Romance

EL40DR: The Short Story as a Literary Form

EL48DS: Brief Encounters - Writing in Short Forms

EL40DT: Daughters of Circe - Acrasia, Cleopatra, Eve 

Level 4 Dissertation Supervision

EL5567: Creative Writing Prose Fiction

MLITT (Level 5) Dissertation supervision

ME33CW: Creative Writing for Medics

PhD supervision: including Elphinstone Scholarship and CISRUL Studentship projects


Page 1 of 2 Results 1 to 10 of 15

  • Taboos & Tribulations: Elephants in the Room & the Polish Question

    Lynch, H.
    Contributions to Conferences: Oral Presentations
  • Citizenship and Suicide: Shakespeare's Roman Plays, republicanism and identity in Samson Agonistes

    Lynch, H.
    Conversations: Classical and Renaissance Intertextuality. Pugh, S. (ed.). Manchester University Press, 42 pages
    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters
  • Sapozhkelekh Story and a reflection

    Lynch, H.
    Axon, vol. Capsule 3, no. Special Issue, pp. 54-64
    Contributions to Journals: Articles
  • Tea for the Rent Boy, and other stories

    Lynch, H.
    Wild Harbour Books, Glasgow
    Books and Reports: Books
  • The Aberdeen Collection: 250 Contemporary Scottish Tunes in Traditional Style

    Lynch, H. (ed.), Williams, C. (ed.)
    Aberdeen University Press. 169 pages
    Books and Reports: Books
  • Falling Masonry and the Redemption of Public Speech: reading Milton through Hannah Arendt

    Lynch, H.
    Fall Narratives: an interdisciplinary approach. Hadromi-Allouche, Z., Larkin, A. (eds.). Routledge, pp. 107-124, 18 pages
    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters
  • Milton and the Politics of Public Speech

    Lynch, H.
    Ashgate, Farnham, Surrey, UK, and Burlington VT, USA. 302 pages
    Books and Reports: Books
  • 'Enchanting Tongues Persuasive': Rhetoric and Gender

    Lynch, H.
    Milton and the Politics of Public Speech. Lynch, H. (ed.). Ashgate Publishing Limited, pp. 115-157, 43 pages
    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters
  • 'Two Twins Cleaving Together': Rhetoric and 'Knowing Good by Evil'

    Lynch, H.
    Milton and the Politics of Public Speech. Ashgate Publishing Limited, pp. 87-113, 27 pages
    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters
  • Milton and the Idea of Public Speech

    Lynch, H.
    Milton and the Politics of Public Speech. Ashgate Publishing Limited, pp. 39-85, 47 pages
    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters
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Books and Reports

Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings

Contributions to Conferences

Contributions to Journals