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Personal profile

Academic Biography

Sophie Nicholls is a novelist and poet and a University Teaching Fellow - Learning and Teaching. She joined Teesside in January 2014 and set up the MA Creative Writing (Distance Learning) in 2015 and the MA Creative Writing and wellbeing in 2019.

Sophie received her First Class MA Hons in English Language from the University of Edinburgh and her DPhil from the University of Sussex. Her doctoral thesis was funded by the AHRC and developed a model for using writing in education, personal and professional development and health care contexts.

Sophie's novel, The Dress, was an Amazon Top 5 bestseller in 2011-12. A new bestselling edition of The Dress was published in paperback and e-book by Twenty7 Books (Bonnier Zaffre) in July 2016. Her second novel, Miss Mary's Book of Dreams (Bonnier Zaffre), was published in March 2017. Her novels have now been translated into eight languages. 

Sophie’s poems have been published widely in poetry journals and magazines and her poetry collection Refugee (2011), partly inspired by her work with the organisation Freedom from Torture, is published by Salt.

Summary of Research Interests

Sophie’s research interests are in connections between creative writing and wellbeing, creative writing pedagogies, fiction, lifewriting and poetry.

Before rejoining academia, Sophie worked as Learning Consultant for Reuters Group where she lead transformational change projects and designed and implemented new learning technologies and online learning programmes for staff and clients. Sophie has an active interest in digital and hybrid pedagogies, learning spaces, wellbeing and the intersections of integrative psychodynamic and learning theories.

PhD and Research Opportunities

Sophie welcomes enquiries and research proposals from prospective students working in any of the above areas. 

Recent completions:

Megan C Hayes. Wording the Self: A Positive Psychological Approach to Creative Writing as "Becoming More." (2018)

Patience Ezinwoke. Iwaha: A novel of the transatlantic slave trade. (2018)

Current PhD students: 

Jessica Wortley. Writing Nature: Ways in which writing in response to nature might be beneficial to us as writers and as selves.

Victoria Bailey. Petal: A novel exploring realisations, perceptions and conceptualisations of single motherhood, exemplified over four generations of a maternal line.

Eve Darwood. My Own Terms: Ways in which prose and poetry can be employed to explore my own experience of living with Multiple Sclerosis.

Bryan Nyary. Dreaming in the Mother Tongue: Re-visitation and Experience Reinterpretation in Memoir.

Martin Smith. Videogame development as immersive storytelling: New narrative dynamics and models of practice in videogame screenwriting and script development.

Russell Pollard. The Taste of Sweat and Sand:  An exploration of military trauma through poetry and performance.

External Roles and Professional Activities

External Examiner, BA Creative Writing, Birkbeck, University of London.

Learning and Teaching Interests and Activities

Sophie co-lead the University's Grand Challenge theme: Learning for the 21st Century during 2017-18. She currently chairs the University Working Group for Online Learning and Teaching.  She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.


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