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Alumni

Helene Harrison

Where are you doing now?Helene Harrison

I am currently working in financial reconciliation for a small company, while working on my second book. My first book on Elizabethan Rebellions will be published by Pen and Sword in January 2023, and my second book is about Tudor Executions to be published 2025 by Pen and Sword. I also write two blogs, one history (TudorBlogger) and one literature (BookBloggerish) which I use to get my opinions out into the world.

How did studying at Northumbria help you achieve your career goals / give your career an edge?

Northumbria is a great place to study. The lecturers are all really helpful and will go the extra mile for you. I know that I can still contact them when I need to, and that they are still willing to give help and guidance even though I've left the University. I wouldn't now have the guts to write my blog and a book if it wasn't for the lecturers at Northumbria.

What was the best thing about your course?

The best thing about my course was the range of options, and the chance to write about what I wanted to. Because of modules taken in the first year on areas of history I hadn't previously studied (Early Modern) I found my love for Anne Boleyn and the Tudors. They encourage interdisciplinary research, which meant that I could combine History with my other love, English.

Who inspired you the most, and why?

Gaby Mahlberg, who ran the MA History course, and was my dissertation supervisor through both undergraduate and postgraduate. Without her, I think I would have floundered. With my social anxiety issues, I struggle to connect to people, but Gaby made sure that she was available when I needed her and answered my deluge of emails to her. Her support made sure that I graduated with a good grade, and I couldn't have done it without her.

Which skills/knowledge did you learn on your course that you use most now/throughout your career?

My writing has definitely improved. It is more succinct, and I now have the confidence to put my ideas out into the public sphere, which I wouldn't have thought of doing before. I am more confident in myself and my ideas. Although I already loved reading, the MA in History in particular widened my gaze, and I now read a lot more non-fiction as well as fiction. I wouldn’t have had the confidence to take on a book deal while working full-time if I hadn’t had the experience of juggling so many things at university.

What did you enjoy most about your time at Northumbria University?

What I most enjoyed about my time at Northumbria University was the chance to express myself openly and engage with people with a similar interest to mine, who didn't judge, and were thoroughly nice people. It makes a change from some of my earlier experiences of people. The people, both lecturers and students, made my time at Northumbria very enjoyable.

What advice would you give somebody who is thinking of studying at Northumbria?

Be prepared to read! Have an open mind, and get ready to be thrown in at the deep end! Immerse yourself. I wish I'd done more extra-curricular and the like. Enjoy it fully and don't regret a thing!

How would you describe your time at Northumbria in 3 words?

Stimulating, Enlightening, Amazing.

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