Dr Helen Marshall

Course Leader, MA Publishing, MA Science Fiction and Fantasy

Senior Lecturer, Creative Writing and Publishing

Faculty:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

School:Cambridge School of Creative Industries

Location: Cambridge

Areas of Expertise: Creative writing , Publishing

Courses taught: Publishing, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Writing and English Literature, Writing and Film Studies

Dr Helen Marshall’s creative writing and publishing expertise covers fantasy, science fiction, horror novels, short stories and poetry. Her research explores the role of English book producers and writers from 1200-1500.




Dr. Helen Marshall is an acclaimed writer, editor and book historian. Her first collection of fiction, Hair Side, Flesh Side, takes its name from the two sides of a piece of parchment—animal skin scraped, stretched and prepared to hold writing. Gifts for the One Who Comes After, her second collection, borrows tropes from the Gothic tradition to negotiate issues of legacy and tradition. Collectively, her two books of short stories have won the World Fantasy Award, the British Fantasy Award, and the Shirley Jackson Award for outstanding achievement in the literature of psychological suspense, horror and the dark fantastic.

Her academic research investigates the codicology and palaeography of late medieval manuscripts from England. It looks at how Middle English “bestsellers” such as Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and the anonymous Prick of Conscience made use of traceable networks of production and dissemination. This work builds upon the practical experience she gained working in the publishing industry as the Managing Editor for ChiZine Publications, Canada’s largest independent genre press, where she was involved in all aspects of production including editing, marketing and business management.

Research interests

"Go, litel book, go," whispers Chaucer, as he sends out his poem to join the ranks of Virgil, Ovid, Homer, Lucan, and Statius. Helen’s research takes this envoy seriously, asking: how did Middle English books "go" in the fourteenth century? Through the study of medieval manuscripts, she contextualises how canon-creation in the late medieval period was a result of the production and transmission of literary texts in their material form. Her research describes the forces which created medieval “bestsellers” and challenges assumptions about the divide between manuscript and print culture across the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

Areas of research supervision

  • Publishing (editing, marketing, and business management)
  • History of the book (manuscript culture)
  • History of genre fiction (science fiction, fantasy, horror, etc.)
  • Creative writing (novels, short stories, poetry)


Helen's teaching covers the History of the Book and the Business of Publishing as well as novels, short stories and poetry, with a particular focus upon science fiction, fantasy, horror, slipstream, fabulism, absurdism and magic realism.


  • PhD (Medieval Studies), University of Toronto
  • MA (Medieval Studies), University of Toronto
  • BA Hons. (English), University of Guelph

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Oxford, 2014-2015.

Canada Council Creative Writing Grant, 2012, 2015.

Ontario Arts Council Work-in-Progress Grant, 2011, 2013.

Toronto Arts Council Level Two Writers Grant, 2011, 2013.           

Ontario Arts Council Writers’ Reserve: from ChiZine Publications, Dundurn Press, Arc Poetry, Diaspora Dialogues, and ELQ/Exile Publications, 2013.

Ontario Arts Council Writers’ Reserve: from ChiZine Publications, The New Quarterly, Descant, 2012.

University of Toronto Fellowship, 2011-2012.

Canada Graduate Scholarship, 2007-2011.

Selected recent publications


Marshall, H. and Kasturi, S. (ed). (2015). Imaginarium 3: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing. Toronto: ChiZine Publications.

Marshall, H. (2014).  Gifts for the One Who Comes After. Toronto: ChiZine Publications.

Marshall, H. (2013).  The Sex Lives of Monsters: Collected Poems. Toronto: Kelp Queen Press.

Marshall, H. (2012). Hair Side, Flesh Side. (2012). Toronto: ChiZine Publications.


Marshall, H. (2016). ‘York’, The Encyclopedia of British Medieval Literature. Wiley-Blackwell. Forthcoming.

Marshall, H. (2016). ‘Worcester, The Encyclopedia of British Medieval Literature. Wiley-Blackwell. Forthcoming.

Marshall, H. (2010). ‘What’s in a Paraph? A New Methodology and its Implications for the Auchinleck Manuscript,’ Journal of the Early Book Society, vol. 13, p. 39-62.

Marshall, H. and Buchanan, P. (2010). ‘New Formalism and the Forms of Middle English Literary Texts’, Literature Compass, vol. 8, pp. 164–172

Recent presentations and conferences

Marshall, H. (2015). ‘“Lothly thinges thai weren alle”: Reconceptualising Horror in the Late Middle Ages’, The 36th International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts (Orlando).

Marshall, H. (2014). ‘Multiplying the Prick of Conscience: Scribes, Scribal Networks and the Rise of a Medieval Bestseller’, 19th Biennial Congress of the New Chaucer Society (Reykjavik).

Marshall, H. (2013). ‘Blessed’, The Weird: Fugitive Fictions/Hybrid Genres (London).

Marshall, H. (2011). ‘eBooks, Manuscripts and the Problem of Reflowable Content’, Twelfth Biennial Conference of the Early Book Society (York).

Marshall, H. (2010). ‘Literary Codicologies: Bookish Form and Formal Play in the Canterbury Tales’, 17th Biennial Congress of the New Chaucer Society (Siena).

Marshall, H. (2009). ‘Medieval Fictions of Bibliography’, Toronto Conference on Editorial Problems (Toronto).