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Mary-Jane Holmes

Mary-Jane Holmes

Doctoral Student in Creative Writing.

Supervisors: Tara Bergin, Sinead Morrissey, Pauline Henri-Tierney, Christy Ducker

Research Project Title:

A Girdle Round the Earth. Strategies of Resistance in Translation and the Un-silencing of the Female Voice

Brief Outline of Research Project:

Drawing on feminist translation theory and poetic formalism to investigate whether translation can be successful in releasing the target text from its own gendered constraints, my PhD investigates the ancient poetic form called the Muwashshaha (Arabic for ‘girdled’; plural Muwashshahat) to ask whether translation of form across languages can create a new route to understanding how gender can be voiced in poetry today. I will produce a sequence of English ‘girdle songs’ in order to enact and respond to the effects of formal transference, and a critical essay that will explore the regenerative act of performative and dialogic translation.

A Girdle Round the Earth. Strategies of Resistance in Translation and the Un-silencing of the Female Voice

Research Interests:

  • Poetry
  • Feminist Translation
  • Transcultural studies


  • Don't Tell the Bees (novella)
  • Dihedral (poetry)
  • Heliotrope with Matches and Magnifying Glass (Poetry)
  • Debut poetry collection Heliotrope with Matches and Magnifying Glass is published by Pindrop Press.
  • Mary-Jane’s work appears in anthologies including Best Small Fictions 2014/2016/2018  and Best Microfictions 2020 and in a variety of other publications including Magma, Modern Poetry in Translation,  The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Tishman Review, Magma, Barren, Spelk, Cabinet of Heed, Firewords, Flashback Fiction, Mslexia, Fictive Dream, The Lonely Crowd, and Prole.

Placements and funding

  • Northern Bridge Consortium Studentship
  • The Iland Postgraduate Research Studentship Award (Research Excellence Academy).


Research Groups

  • Translating & Interpreting Research Group
  • The Gender Research Group


  • AWP 2020

Research groups

  • translating and Interpreting Research Group

Academic background

  • 2019 – to present: Research PhD in creative writing, University of Newcastle       
  • 2015 - 2017 Master of Studies (Distinction) in Creative Writing at Kellogg College, Oxford
  • 1990-1993 Bachelor of Arts with Honours in English Language and Literature
  • The University of Manchester. Classification: Second Class, Division One