School of Social Sciences, Humanities & Law
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Dr Sophie Nicholls

Sophie Nicholls

About Sophie Nicholls

Sophie Nicholls is a novelist and poet and Head of Department for the Humanities at Teesside University. She joined Teesside in January 2014 and set up the MA Creative Writing (Distance Learning) in 2015.

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 10 bestseller in 2011-12, has sold over 170,000 copies to date and has been translated into Italian, French, Bulgarian and Polish. 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. 

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. 

Research interests and activities

Creative Writing
Sophie’s research interests are in fiction, poetry, life writing, the links between creative writing and wellbeing, and creative writing pedagogies.  

Digital and hybrid pedagogies, writing in groups, digital spaces
Sophie has a background in learning technologies and instructional design and is interested in exploring new ways of writing in digital spaces, hybrid pedagogies, open learning, OERs and digital wellbeing.

Research network:
Along with Megan Hayes, Sophie is the founder of 
Creative Writing Lab, a research network for creative writing and wellbeing. 

PhD and research opportunities

PhD supervision:
Sophie welcomes enquiries and research proposals from prospective students working in any of the following areas: 

contemporary poetry

fiction and particularly the area of so-called 'women's fiction'

creative writing and wellbeing

creativity and creative process, including creative writing pedagogies

Recent completions and current PhD students - Teesside: 
Megan C Hayes.
Wording the Self: A Positive Psychological Approach to Creative Writing as "Becoming More." 

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. 

External roles and professional activities

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

Learning and teaching interests

Sophie co-leads the University's Grand Challenge theme: Learning for the 21st Century.

In the news

  • New project aims to change how Middlesbrough is seen
    Love Middlesbrough, online, 29/03/2018, North East Connected online, 01/04/2018, North East Chamber of Commerce, online, 05/04/2018
    A new project is appealing for members of the public to join forces and remake the way the world sees Middlesbrough.

  • BBC Radio York, Adam Tomlinson and Anna Wallace, 27/07/2016:
    BBC Radio York
    Teesside University Creative Writing lecturer Sophie Nicholls talks about her career as a writer.

  • York a perfect fit for Sophie's Dress
    The Press, 12/07/2016; York Press, 12/07/2016
    Teesside University's lecturer, Sophie Nicholls' book "The Dress" was inspired by a vintage shop in York.

  • Lecturer's work for torture survivors
    Evening Gazette, 20/03/2015, pg 13
    Creative Writing lecturer Sophie Nicholls has launched her poetry collection entitled Refugee relaunched on the Amazon Kindle with all proceeds going to the Freedom from Torture charity.