Dr Harry Whitehead

Harry Whitehead

BA (Sussex), MSc (London), MA (London), PhD (Lancaster), FHEA

Associate Professor of Creative Writing

E: hdw5@le.ac.uk

Personal details

BA (Sussex), MSc (London), MA (London), PhD (Lancaster), FHEA

I am a novelist and associate professor in Creative Writing. I am Deputy Director of The Centre for New Writing and Chair of the Literary Leicester Committee. I am principal editor of the peer-reviewed journal, Writing in Practice. I sit as an elected member of the Higher Education Committee of Creative Writing's subject association, the National Association of Writers in Education.  I have been REF External Advisor at Bath Spa University, and external examiner for the BA in Creative Writing at Roehampton University. In 2014, I was awarded a University of Leicester Teaching Fellowship for 'excellent leadership of the development of creative writing teaching in the School of English.' I am a 2016-7 Eccles Centre Fellow in North American Studies at the British Library.

My first novel, The Cannibal Spirit, is a work of literary historical fiction set among the First Peoples of Canada at the turn of the twentieth century and is published by Penguin Canada. It has been described as 'powerful, brave, ambitious' (The Globe and Mail), 'a thriller with a Joseph Conradian plot' (The Walrus), 'a unique work, compelling, complex, thought-provoking and impressive' (Quill and Quire). My second novel, titled Nowhere, is about the film business, sex, madness and Psychogeography, and is forthcoming next year.

Otherwise, I have published short fiction in a variety of contemporary genres, and papers in the fields of creative writing pedagogy, anthropology and history; memory, nostalgia and identity; Native North American & Canadian history and ethnography; and psychoanalysis.

Before moving into academia, I worked for many years in film and TV production, and have degrees in social and medical anthropology as well as creative writing.




Recent publications


The Cannibal Spirit (Toronto: Penguin, 2011)

Recent short fiction

'Ringtone', in London Lies, edited by Cherry Potts (London: Arachne Press, 2012)

‘Dust’, in The Storyteller Magazine Vol 14, Issue 2, 2008.

‘Black Amex and Chop’, at Whimperbang Vol. 10, 2007.

Recent articles

Harry Whitehead ‘The Programmatic Era: Creative Writing as Cultural Imperialism.’ Ariel: a Review of International English Literature 47.1-2 (January-April 2016) pps.359-391

‘To Shed What Still Attempts to Cling as if Attached by Thorns,’ (co-authored with Jane Haynes) in From Broken Attachments to Earned Security: The Role of Empathy in Therapeutic Change (The John Bowlby Memorial Lecture Series 2011) ed. Andrew Odgers (London: Karnac Books 2014)

'Nomadic Emergence: Creative Writing Theory and Practice-Led Research,' in New Ideas in the Writing Arts: Practice, Culture Literature, edited by Graeme Harper. Cambridge: CSP 2013.

‘Yearning for Authenticity on the Northwest Coast of Canada’, in Memory Studies, July 2010.


Currently, I am conducting research on the history of the oil business and the future of the Arctic for my third novel.

I am also conducting research into creative writing pedagogical theory, the global spread of the subject, and its implications for creative innovation.

More generally, I am interested in all forms of creative writing practice and theory, especially in its application to wider pedagogic practices in higher education.


I supervise creative writing PhDs. I welcome experienced writers interested in pushing the limits of their writing in imaginative genres including prose fiction, narrative non-fiction, writing for the screen and graphic novels.

With an academic background in both creative writing and anthropology, I am interested particularly (but not exclusively) in colonial, postcolonial and transcultural writing. I also welcome writers of contemporary innovative fiction that pushes the boundaries of publishing norms.

Share this page:

Contact Us

University of Leicester,
University Road,
Leicester, LE1 7RH.

T: 0116 252 2620
E: SchoolofArts@leicester.ac.uk



DisabledGo logo

The University of Leicester is committed to equal access to our facilities. DisabledGo has a detailed accessibility guide for the Attenborough Tower.