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Last updated 18th April 2024


Dr Steve Ely is Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing and Director of the Ted Hughes Network.  He is an award-winning poet, novelist, and biographer. His most recent publications are Lectio Violant and The European Eel (both 2021).  

Steve joined the University in September 2015 after a twenty-year career in secondary education as a teacher, senior leader and Headteacher.  He has also worked as a freelance writer and educational consultant.  He teaches on a range of undergraduate creative writing modules and on the Life Writing MA.   

Steve is currently supervising a number of Masters by Research/PhD students working on a range of creative writing projects (poetry and prose), and projects relating to the work of Ted Hughes.  He would welcome further proposals from prospective students in these areas, and in the area of modern and contemporary poetry. 

Steve is a founding member of the Ted Hughes Project (South Yorkshire) a community-based organisation which seeks to develop the legacy of Ted Hughes in and around Hughes’s childhood home of Mexborough and which runs the annual Ted Hughes Poetry Festival, a suite of community creative writing workshops and a range of innovative poetry-in-the-landscape events. 

As Director of the Ted Hughes Network, Steve formed and led the consortium that developed and launched the Discovering Ted Hughes’s Yorkshire literary trails in 2021, engaging local, regional and national audiences with a range of poetry readings, guided trail walks, creative writing workshops and freely downloadable materials.  Discovering Ted Hughes’s Yorkshire was rated a 4* Impact Case Study in the English Literature and Creative Writing subject area’s 2021 REF submission. In 2020 Steve’s Ted Hughes Society Journal article, ‘The Key of the Sycamore’ narrated his discovery of the previously unknown burial place of Assia and Shura Wevill, Hughes’s partner and daughter, in doing so revealing that a far greater number of poems in Hughes’s oeuvre  alluded to Wevill than had hitherto been suspected. 

Steve has also played a leading role in developing a major Ted Hughes-focused archive at Heritage Quay (the information, records management and archive service at the University of Huddersfield) and in 2022 he led the team which acquired the Mark Hinchliffe Ted Hughes collection, with generous financial support from the Arts Council England/Victoria and Albert Purchase Fund, the Friends of the National Library, the National Memorial Heritage Fund and the University of Huddersfield  

Steve has organised or co-organised a number of conferences at the University, including ‘Ted Hughes & Place’ (2017) and ‘The Motley Muse’ (2022).  In March 2022 he co-organised ‘Apocalypse I: Poetry of the 1940s’ with Professor Heather Clark of the University of Huddersfield and Professor John Goodby of Sheffield Hallam University.  The follow-up conference, ‘Apocalypse II: Legacies of Apocalypse’ will take place at Huddersfield in November, 2022.  

Steve is currently putting the finishing touches to a symphonic, book-length poem, Eely, which explores the apocalypse of the Anthropocene through the triple foci of autobiography, the European eel and the fenlands of eastern England.  Eely will be published by Longbarrow Press in 2023. He’s also writing a novel, The Quoz - a folk-horrific bildungsroman set in a West Riding pit village in the Sex Pistols summer of 1977 - and researching Ted Hughes’s Expressionism, a monograph that seeks to provide an analysis of Hughes’s achievement in the twin contexts of World and European movements in art and literature, and modern and contemporary English-language poetry. 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Research Expertise and Interests

  • Ted Hughes
  • Poem
  • Leonard Baskin
  • Gehenna


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