Women’s Literary Culture before the Conquest

This project, funded by the award of a Major Research Fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust, offers the first sustained exploration of the literary culture of women in early medieval England.

It explores both the conditions that enabled a rich and varied culture to thrive, and the reasons why that remarkable culture is almost invisible today.

Histories of English Literature, including women’s literary histories, have tended to exclude or to marginalize the contributions of early medieval women. The project analyses new material to provide a better understanding of literary history and a new perspective on Anglo-Saxon literary production that places women at its very centre. 

In the course of the project  I will be visiting archives and libraries across Europe. The project blog will provide regular updates on this research.

The findings of the project will be published in a book that is contracted to appear in Bloomsbury's Studies in Early Medieval History series, edited by Ian Wood.


Our research is published in a host of journals.

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Great thread by my inspiring colleague @RachelHann. We need to support each other ❤️❤️❤️ https://t.co/iZGEXpobia
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That thing when Cisco decides to block the sites you are trying to access for legitimate research. https://t.co/njAEsqbVJU
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It doesn’t pay to be elderly in Warrington https://t.co/6TpAG4tIu5

Latest blog posts


Forthcoming event. Speaking Internationally: Women’s Literary Culture and the Canon in the Global Middle Ages

I will be presenting a paper entitled ‘Before Margery: The Book of Margery Kempe and its Antecedents’...


Women, Writing and Religion is forthcoming from Bloomsbury in December 2019!

Women, Writing and Religion in England and Beyond, 650–1100 By: Diane Watt The book can be pre-ordered...