Dr Helen Lynch

Dr Helen Lynch


Dr Helen Lynch
Dr Helen Lynch

Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 272642
The University of Aberdeen School of Language and Literature,
King's College,
University of Aberdeen,
Aberdeen AB24 3UB


Helen Lynch taught at the University of York, the University of Lodz, Poland, Nauczycielskie Kolegium Jezykow Obcych, Torun, Poland, and the University of Aberdeen before taking up her current post in 2012.


Research Interests

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 Boy, completed with the help of a Creative Scotland Writer's Bursary, was published in 2018.

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.

As well as the literature and politics of the early modern period (especially Milton, Spenser, Shakespeare and the connections between them), Helen 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. 

Current Research

Currently completing a book chapter, ‘Citizenship and Suicide: Shakespeare’s Roman Plays, republicanism and identity in Samson Agonistes’, in Classical Conversations, ed. Syrithe Pugh, (AUP, 2019)

Working on a series of three articles on Milton, Shakespeare and classical reception to be completed during research leave HS2 beginning January 2019.

Having completed her second short story collection, Helen is beginning work on two novel-length projects, one of them historical.


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

Helen is collaborating with Alan Spence 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)

Research Grants

In 2011, Helen Lynch was awarded a Writer's Bursary from Creative Scotland to enable her to work on her second collection of short stories, Tea for the Rent Boy.

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

Helen has 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)

Enacting  the Past: from the Bennachie Colony to the Tatras (2017)



Teaching Responsibilities

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 

EL5567: Creative Writing Prose Fiction

MLITT Dissertation supervision

ME33CW: Creative Writing for Medics

PhD supervision: Elphinstone Scholarship

Further Info

External Responsibilities

University Trustee, Aberdeen International Youth Festival Trust 2014-2018

Admin Responsibilities

WORD Centre Co-Director

WORD Programme Co-ordinator May Festival

WORD Centre Impact Case Study Lead

Erasmus Co-ordinator (outgoing) 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 Duaghters of Circe: Acrasia, Cleopatra, Eve (Senior Honours).

Public Engagement/External Responsibilities

 A member of the Centre for Early Modern Studies http://www.abdn.ac.uk/cems/, Helen also has continued Polish interests, reflected in her involvement with the Polish-Scottish project at The Elphinstone Institute http://www.abdn.ac.uk/elphinstone, and as a board member and  trustee of The W. Bednarowski Trust http://www.bednarowskitrust.org/. Since 2010, Helen has organised the European Voices: Polish Writing event at the annual WORD Festival.

Member, Society for Renaissance Studies

Member, Centre for Early Modern Studies

Accredited Author, Scottish Book Trust

Board Member and Trustee, Bednarowski Trust

Foreign Language Editor, Hybris  Polish language digital journal of Philosophy

Polish-Scottish Songs and Stories Project, Elphinstone Institute

Board member, Scottish Culture and Traditions Association

Founder-member, Danse McCabre ceilidh band,



Supervision of Research Students

Helen Lynch welcomes inquiries about postgraduate research on Milton, on the literature and politics of the early modern period, and in Creative Writing.

The Centre for Medical Humanities

Since 2011, Helen Lynch has taught the third-year Creative Writing for Medics course as part of the Medical Humanities programme. The University of Aberdeen's Centre for Medical Humanities, co-ordinated by Dr Catherine Jones, was established in 2009 to provide a focus for the development of research, teaching, CPD, and public engagement activities in the field of medical humanities. 

For further information see: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/medical-humanities/ https://www.abdn.ac.uk/medical/humanities/  

In 2013 the Centre for Medical Humanities hosted the annual conference of the Association for Medical Humanities from 8-10 July on the theme of 'Global Medical Humanities'.

The first chapbook of creative writing by medical students was produced that year for inclusion in conference packs and launch at the conference itself, and a further two collections have followed:

Verbal Remedies: Creative Writjng by Medical Students (2013) https://www.abdn.ac.uk/medical/humanities/file.php/30/Chapbook-Verbal_Final.pdf 

More Verbal Remedies https://www.abdn.ac.uk/medical/humanities/ (2015)

and Another Dose of Vetrbal Remedies (2018) https://www.abdn.ac.uk/mayfestival/events/13007/ 


  • Tea for the Rent Boy (Glasgow: Wild Harbour, 2018)
  • The Aberdeen Collection: 250 Contemporary Scottish Tunes in Traditional Style, eds. Helen Lynch and Carley Williams (AUPP, 2017)
  • ‘Falling Masonry and the Redemption of Public Speech: reading Milton through Hannah Arendt’, in Fall Narratives: an interdisciplinary approach (Routledge, 2016)
  • Milton and the Politics of Public Speech (Ashgate 2015)
  • The Elephant and the Polish Question, short story collection (Bristol and London: Bluechrome, 2009), 315 pp.
  • ‘Oratory and the Politics of Public Speech: Milton and Civil War Polemic’, in Proceedings of the 2011 Newberry Center for Renaissance Studies Graduate Conference (Chicago: 2011)
  •   ‘Overnight Observation’, in The Year of Open Doors (Glasgow: Cargo Press,     2010)
  •  ‘French Leave’, in Even More Tonto Short Stories (Newcastle: Tonto, 2010)
  • ‘Last Bus From The Baker’s Arms’, in Causeway/Cabhsair (AHRC Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies, 2010)
  • ‘The Mintie Wifie’, Gutter Magazine (2009).
  • ‘New Era, New Perspective’, in The Ground Beneath Her Feet, and Other Stories (Cardiff: Cinnamon, 2008)
  • ‘New Era, New Perspective’, in A Book of Possible Loves (London: SlingInk, 2007)
  • ‘Half-Mast’, in Cheatin’ Hearts: Women’s Secret Stories, ed. Kim Longinotto and Joanna Rosenthall (London: Serpent’s Tail, 2000)
  • ‘Beowulf for Beginners’: multi-media educational resource consisting of illustrated translation and adaptation of Beowulf for use in schools, with Anglo-Saxon readings by S.A.J. Bradley, funded and published by Research Machines’ Internet for Learning Library (1995/2006).  http://www.abdn.ac.uk/sll/disciplines/english/beowulf/  
  • ‘The Knight with the Lion’: multi-media educational resource, based on Chrétien de Troyes’s Yvain; ou Le Chevalier au Lion (1996/2006).  https://www.abdn.ac.uk/sll/disciplines/english/lion/