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Dr Rachel Connor

About Dr Rachel Connor

Rachel is a novelist, short story writer and a dramatist for stage and radio. More recently, she has begun to work in the areas of site-specific performance and digital storytelling. She also has an interest in the intersections between fields: between the creative and the critical, and between the disciplines of science, technology and creative writing. 

The main focus of Rachel’s research is practice-based, as a writer of fiction, script and performance. She supervises doctoral work in creative writing and welcomes applications from research students interested in any area of adaptation and practice-based research that focuses on fiction and/or script. Rachel leads the ‘Practices of Writing’ research strand of the Centre for Culture and the Arts at Leeds Beckett.

In addition to research and teaching, Rachel is engaged with a range of public engagement and outreach work, including working as a writer in residence in secondary schools for the charity ‘First Story’ and organising Leeds Beckett’s (Re)Writing Yorkshire event series.

Current Teaching

  • Module leader and tutor for ‘Writing the Short Story’ (Level 4)
  • Module leader and tutor for ‘Writing Character: Fiction, Script, Screen’ (Level 5)
  • Co-tutor for The Creative Writing Project (Level 6)
  • Level 6 English Literature dissertation supervision
  • PhD supervision in the areas of creative writing practice-as-research and adaptation (novel and script).

Research Interests

Rachel’s writing is underscored by a fascination with issues of containment, desire and connection.  Previous projects (a novel, Sisterwives, Crocus Books, 2011; radio drama, BBC Radio 4, The Cloistered Soul, 2014; a site-specific adaptation of August Strindberg’s A Dream Play, Manchester Festival, 2015) sought to discover how the stories we construct have the power to constrain and entrap us – or, conversely, to set us free. 

More recent work (a stage play, Synchronous, 2014; short story, ‘The Properties of Water’, 2014: examines the interconnections between narrative and the technology, history and culture of science.  She is currently engaged in a research project with Harvard University, which asks how writing practice intersects with the tacit knowledge of scientific heritage; and how knowledge about the material culture of science might be enhanced through the adaptation of literary text to digital forms.

Rachel is also conducting research into writing processes and practice. She is particularly interested in prewriting - activities like daydreaming, planning and mapping that occur before anything is put on the page. Knowledge about this often-ignored area of the writing process has a potentially wide-ranging impact for the writing community.

In the creative field, she is at work on another novel, which explores how the technologies of assisted reproduction and egg donation forge connections between two women, both strangers.

Selected Publications

Journal articles (1)

  • Connor RA (1997), Maddening Reflections": The Cinematics of H.D.'s Her

Books (5)

  • Connor RA ed. (2017) Back to Our Future. London: First Story Press.
  • Connor RA ed. (2016) Being Us. London: First Story Press.
  • Connor RA ed. (2015) Being Human. First Story Press.
  • Connor RA (2011) Sisterwives. Crocus Books.
  • Connor R (2004) H.D. and the Image. Manchester University Press.

Chapters (7)

  • Connor RA (2017) How to curate a life. In: EXIT EARTH. London: Storgy Books, pp. 3-10.
    View Repository Record
  • Connor RA (2014) The Properties of Water. In: . : Linen Press, pp. .
    View Repository Record
  • Connor RA (2011) Projecting H.D.: Film, Criticism and Visual Culture. In: Debo A; Vetter L Approaches to Teaching H.D.'s Poetry and Prose. New York: Modern Languages Association of America, pp. .
  • Connor RA (2010) H.D.'s Visionary Prose. In: Seed D A Companion to Twentieth-Century United States Fiction. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, pp. 313-321.
  • Connor RA (2004) H.D.'s The Gift: "an endless store room of film". In: Murphet J; Rainford L Literature and Visual Technologies Writing After Cinema. London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. .
  • Connor RA (2000) Textu(r)al Braille: Visionary (Re)Readings of H.D.. In: Horner A; Keane A Body Matters Feminism, Textuality, Corporeality. Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp. .
  • Connor RA (1999) Assuming White Identities: Racial and Gendered Looking Across the Literature/ Media Divide. In: Brown H; Gilkes M; Kaloski Naylor A White?women critical perspectives on race and gender. York: Raw Nerve Books, pp. .

Conference contributions (3)

  • Evans R (2016) Exploring writing habits and approaches Bristol 14/11/2014.
  • Burnett L; Hussain N; McGrath J; McKnight L (2016) Practices of Writing: The Future of the Humanities The Tetley, Leeds 04/07/2016.
  • Connor RA (2015) 'Translating Strindberg': considerations for a site-specific performance Durham 13/11/2015.

Performances (3)

  • Connor RA (In press), Synchronous
  • Connor RA (In press), A Dream Play
    View Repository Record
  • Connor RA (2014), The Cloistered Soul, Afternoon Drama for BBC Radio 4
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