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Postgraduate Research in Creative Writing

Postgraduate research plays a vital role in the research culture of Creative Writing at Northumbria. We have a strong and growing community of PhD students; please click on the PhD students links below for more information on our students and further details on their research. 

Current and previous postgraduates on Northumbria's Creative Writing programme have an impressive record of publication and other successes.

If you are interested in commencing postgraduate study, please contact Dr Paul Frazer, who will advise you which colleague is closest to your own interests.

Current postgraduate students in Creative Writing

Allison Adkins 

Can a YA dystopian novel reflect political complexity? And is a YA vampire novel an effective medium in which to do this?

My interest in the YA vampire novel began during the third year of my undergraduate degree. I began writing my first novel, which researched the role of indoctrination in creating dystopian worlds, for my BA dissertation. The beginning 3500 words won the 2019 Northumbria students and alumni New Writing North Award. I continued writing the novel as part of my MA in Creative writing which I completed in 2020. My PhD thesis will seek to determine whether a YA novel can be an effective medium for reflecting complex contemporary politics.


Twitter: @AdkinsAllison


Catherine Ayres

Catherine Ayres is a full-time secondary school English teacher from Alnwick, Northumberland, where she runs a thriving poetry club for her students. She has an English degree from Leicester University, and a Masters degree in Victorian Literature from Leeds University. Her first poetry collection, Amazon, was published by Indigo Dreams in 2016. She is currently in her fourth year of a critical practice PhD, focusing on women who lived in the forts on Hadrian’s Wall at the time of Roman occupation, and how their silences can elide with her own.



Nick Dodds


Stephen Fender

The aim of my PhD Creative Writing research is to interrogate the processes involved in the creation and establishing of a narrative gender-identity for trans-gender people. My thesis will include a metafiction novel of 70,000 words. My choice in using metafiction arises from my proposition that it aligns in a markedly powerful way with the fragmented sense of self experienced by trans-gender individuals. My intention is to provide a clearer understanding of how gender-identity is shaped and reshaped in response to surrounding social and religious narratives.



Andrew Hankinson

How can non-fiction writing practice make use of a hybrid form to report effectively and uniquely on attitudes to ‘outsiders’ in North East England?

Andrew is a journalist and author. His research interest is in experimental creative nonfiction. He is the author of You Could Do Something Amazing With Your Life [You Are Raoul Moat] (2015)



a man sitting in front of a windowMark Holmes 

Performing Elvis: A Creative and Critical Exploration of American Post-War Popular Culture and Working-Class Masculinities in the North East of England  

Born and raised in Newcastle upon Tyne, Mark started writing stories as a child and hasn’t stopped since. In 2015 he completed a degree in Creative Writing through the Open University, followed by a Master’s at the University of Edinburgh. He is now studying towards a PhD in Creative Writing at Northumbria University, has been shortlisted twice for the Sid Chaplin Award and, in 2020, was awarded a Northern Writers’ Award for his work. His research interests include: film studies, gender studies, American studies, and creative writing.



Lisa Matthews


a person posing for the cameraSusannah Ronnie

Mapping a Mutiny: How can poetry be used to imagine and interrogate the events surrounding the mutiny that took place in 1611 during Henry Hudson’s final voyage? 

Susannah studied English Language and Literature at Newcastle University, returning to study creative writing after 14 years in the recruitment industry. She has published poems in magazines and her collection Digging Up the Dead (Red Squirrel Press, 2014). Her short plays have been performed at Live Theatre and Octagon Theatre Bolton and in 2015, Queen's Hall Arts, Hexham commissioned a Mesolithic play, After the Ice, for 7-11 year olds. Susannah’s research interests centre on the relationship between history and fiction and she recently presented at the Historical Fictions Research Network Conference. Susannah has also exhibited book art and worked with New Writing North on their young people’s programme for a number of years.



Adam Sharpe 


Ruth Stacey


Shaun Wilson 

Outsider Voices in Autofiction

Shaun Wilson was born in 1980, and raised in Wigton, Cumbria. He recently completed an MA in creative writing at Northumbria University, winning the prize for ‘Best Postgraduate Student in Humanities’. His debut, a work-in-progress, won a Northern Writers’ Award, made the final of PRH’s Write Now programme, and saw him tipped for ‘big things’ by Kerry Hudson, in an article on working class writers in The Observer. In 2019 an excerpt was published in Kit de Waal’s Common People anthology. Following New Writing North’s 2019 Talent Party, Shaun signed up with Susan Smith at MBA Agents.




Research at Northumbria

Research at Northumbria

Research is the life blood of a University and at Northumbria University we pride ourselves on research that makes a difference; research that has application and affects people's lives.

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