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Dr Helen Williams

Associate Professor

Department: Humanities

Helen Williams is Associate Professor of English Literature and a British Academy Innovation Fellow. She leads the Scholarly Editing and Print Cultures Research Group. 

Helen received her BA from Northumbria University and her MA from Durham University. She then returned to Northumbria, completing a PhD in collaboration with the Laurence Sterne Trust at Shandy Hall in 2014. She joined the faculty at Northumbria in 2012. 

Helen is the author of Laurence Sterne and the Eighteenth-Century Book (Cambridge University Press, 2021) and co-editor of John Cleland’s Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (Broadview, 2018) and Laurence Sterne and Sterneana (Cambridge Digital Library, 2019). In collaboration with the Worshipful Company of Stationers, she holds a British Academy Innovation Fellowship entitled 'Communicating Women's Work in the Historical Archive', exploring the history of eighteenth-century women in the book trades.

Helen Williams

Campus Address

Office: Lipman 024



Helen’s research interests broadly lie in eighteenth-century book history, professional authorship and literary heritage, and she is particularly interested in work incorporating digitisation and heritage collaboration. Her publications explore manuscript, print and eighteenth-century authorship whilst interrogating the effects of writers’ relationships with their patrons and publishers on the production of bestselling literary texts.

With Clark Lawlor, Allan Ingram, and Leigh Wetherall Dickson, Helen is co-investigator of a three-year Leverhulme-funded project entitled Writing Doctors: Representation and Medical Personality ca. 1660-1832. The project analyses writing by and about doctors and other health practitioners, including midwives, apothecaries, quacks, and cunning-women, during the period in which the English vernacular first became the primary mode of medical communication. The project employs a postgraduate research assistant and funds a PhD student.

Helen is the author of Laurence Sterne and the Eighteenth-Century Book (Cambridge University Press, 2021) and co-director of Laurence Sterne and Sterneana. She shares a contract with Richard Terry and Peter Sabor to publish an edition of John Cleland’s correspondence for Cambridge University Press.

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Laurence Sterne and the Eighteenth-Century Book, Williams, H. 1 Apr 2021
  • Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, Williams, H., Terry, R. 23 Jul 2018
  • Printing, Publishing and Pocketbook Compiling: Ann Fisher’s Hidden Labour in the Newcastle Book Trade, Williams, H. 2022, Print Culture, Agency, and Regionality in the Hand Press Period, Cham, Switzerland, Palgrave Macmillan
  • Communing with the Fictional Dead: Grave Tourism and the Sentimental Novel, Williams, H. 2021, British Sociability in Enlightenment Europe , Cham, Switzerland, Palgrave Macmillan
  • Reading Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure against Cleland's life and letters, Terry, R., Williams, H. 1 Apr 2019, In: Eighteenth-Century Life

  • Laura Sadler Shandean identity in nineteenth-century French fiction Start Date: 01/10/2022
  • Joanne Edwards Women, the Arts and Patronage: The Delavals of Seaton Delaval Hall Start Date: 01/10/2020

  • English Literature PhD June 24 2014
  • English Literature MA June 30 2009


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