Dr Helen Finch

Dr Helen Finch

Associate Professor in German

+44 (0)113 343 3510 | Twitter: @helencfinch

Summary: Literature and the Holocaust; W. G. Sebald and H. G. Adler; South Africa in a comparative context; archives; cultural trauma; gender and queer identities in German literature

Location: Michael Sadler Building 2.16


Dr Finch is on research leave from August 2017-July 2018.


Current projects

Dr Finch is currently working on a book project entitled 'Holocaust Literature in German: Canon, Witness, Remediation'

She is a co-investigator on a series of projects linking researchers in the UK and South Africa working on trauma, reconciliation and reparation in the aftermath of German Nazism and Afrikaner nationalism. In addition, she is a co-investigator on a major AHRC Care for the Future research project, 'Performing the Jewish Archive'. Her monograph on queer masculine identities in the works of W. G. Sebald, Sebald's Bachelors: Queer Resistance and the Unconforming Life, appeared with Legenda in 2013.

Dr Finch is a member of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures Transnational Holocaust Memory cluster.

She also occasionally blogs at helenfinch.wordpress.com and for Austrian Research UK, and tweets at @helencfinch

Postgraduate supervision

Currently supervising the following projects:

Ian Ellison: "Towards a Melancholy Cosmopolitanism: Transnational Melancholy in Contemporary European Fiction" (2015-2018)

Dominic O'Key: "Creaturely Forms: Sebald, Coetzee, Devi" (Traumatic Pasts, Cosmopolitanism and Nation-Building PhD Student 2015-2018)

Completed postgraduate projects: 

Alexandru Bar: "The double identity of Tristan Tzara and Marcel Janco - the archives of an identity issue" ( Performing the Jewish Archive Project PhD Student 2015-2018)

John March: "German Exile Photographers in Britain 1933-45" (MAR 2014-2017)

Dr Finch welcomes approaches from students interested in researching the following areas:

  • The works of W. G. Sebald and H. G. Adler
  • The representation of the Holocaust in literature
  • Queer identities and poetics in German culture
  • Gender and politics in contemporary German literature



    Journal Articles




    Recent Talks and Conference Presentations

    • October 2015: "Reconciliation, Revenge, Restitution. Edgar Hilsenrath’s and Ruth Klüger’s Late Writings as Holocaust Metatestimony "GSA Washington conference, panel on German Jewish Literature After 1990: Beyond the Holocaust? 
    • 26 January 2015: 'H. G. Adler’s Yellow Star: Emotion in the Transnational Holocaust Archive', at Transnational Holocaust Memory, University of Leeds
    • 25 July 2014: 'Performing the Yorkshire Holocaust Survivors Association Archive', at Music, Memory and Migration conference, University of Leeds
    • 4 April 2014: 'W. G. Sebald's Literary Capital: The Sebald Effect in Holocaust Literature?' at the Department of English, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
    • 14 January 2014: Respondent, workshop on ‘The Holocaust, Race, and Racism in the Postcolonial World’, Wiener Library
    • 25 October 2013: Keynote speaker: 'Canon and canon-formation in German-language Holocaust literature: the politics of testimony and transnational transmission', 'Transnational European Circulations: contemporary, historical and Holocaust literature' graduate conference, University of Copenhagen
    • 4 October 2013, 'Forbidden Testimony, Transnational Memory: Klüger and Adler in America', GSA Denver conference
    • 10 September 2013, 'Forgiveness and Literature', Liliesleaf Museum, Johannesburg
    • 11 April 2013, "Ressentiment, Witness and Forgiveness: H. G. Adler and Holocaust memory", at 'Remembering and Managing the Past in Germany and South Africa: A Comparison' workshop, Nottingham Trent University
    • 4 April 2013, 'The Testimonial Turn? Remembrance and Representation in German Holocaust Literature between 1962 and 1977', AGS Cardiff conference
    • 14 February 2013: Invited Speaker: ‘Nationalisms and Sexualities’, Tendencies at Twenty, University of York
    • 29 January 2013: Invited Speaker: 'Sebald's Bachelors: Queer Resistance and the Unconforming Life', University of Warwick German Seminar Series.
    • 13 December 2012: Invited Speaker: German Intellectuals from Student Revolution to Reaction: Botho Strauß, Peter Handke, W. G. Sebald', University of Manchester CIDRAL Public Intellectuals Seminar Series.
    • 11-12 November 2012: Invited Speaker: ''Prague circles: the vicissitudes of H. G. Adler's modernist poetics', H. G. Adler: Life, Literature, Legacy, hosted by the Israel and Golda Koschitzky Center for Jewish Studies and the Department of English at York University in Toronto