Dr Cath Nichols

Dr Cath Nichols, Tutor in Creative Writing
Email: c.s.nichols@leeds.ac.uk

Areas of expertise

Creative writing, poetry, children’s fiction, young adult fiction, disability representation, queer representation, inclusion and diversity. 

Cath Nichols

My role

I have a PhD in Creative Writing from Lancaster University and specialise in poetry, radio drama and children’s fiction. My research interests include representations of ‘the other’ in literature, especially disabled and/or queer characters in children’s fiction and poetry. 

I grew up in Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and the UK. I gained a Visual Arts degree and PG certificate in Youth and Community Work. I volunteered with the local Rape Crisis then worked in mental health in Manchester before moving into radio and print journalism, hosting BBC GMR’s Gaytalk in the 90s and editing Queer Soul.  

Published work 

I worked for Liverpool’s Dead Good Poets Society running performance and writing events from 2002-2006. I left to take an MA then PhD in Creative Writing at Lancaster University (completed 2011).  

At Leeds I teach Creative Writing Level 1 and Writing for Children and Young Adults. I used to teach Writing Script. I have taught at four universities in the north-west since 2010. 

My poetry pamphlet, Tales of Boy Nancy (Driftwood 2005), was made into a short film. 

This was followed by my debut collection My Glamorous Assistant (Headland, 2007), and a second pamphlet Distance (erbacce, 2012).

My mermaid-ghost play The Price of Legs was staged in Nottingham having won an open competition (2010). Other short plays have been performed in Manchester. 

This is Not a Stunt (Valley Press, 2017), my most recent poetry collection exploring trans* experience and disability, was described as 'ground-breaking by Stride. 

My poetry is taught to postgraduates at Edge Hill University and undergraduates at the University of Sunderland. 

I live with chronic illness and use a wheelchair when outside. I am queer/bi.


Short-listed for the Frances Lincoln Award (for Diversity in Children's Fiction) 2013. 

Commended in the Hippocrates Poetry and Medicine Awards, 2018. 

Essays and chapters

  • ‘Frailer than My Wildest Dreams’, life-writing for The Real Story commissioned for the Not Quite Light Festival, 2019. 
  • ‘Fishlegs’ Journey: Acknowledged and Unacknowledged Stigma in the How to Train Your Dragon Book Series’ in the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, children’s literature issue, 2018.  
  • ‘Poetry and Disability’ for Poetry Wales, summer 2016. 
  • Chapter: ‘Intersections between Disability and Trans: a Poetics’ in Reflections on Female and Trans* Masculinities (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016).  
  • Lead cover feature on disability, literature and creative writing in Mslexia magazine, spring 2015 issue. Reproduced in feminist magazine Bitch (USA). 
  • ‘The Odd Couple: Trans Characters and Disabled Buddies in Two Works of Fiction’ in Considering Disability Journal, issue 1, 2015.  
  • Chapter: ‘Creative Writing and Disability Studies: a Practical Approach to Theory’, in Avoidance in the Academy (Routledge, 2015).