Kath Mckay


Faculty of Arts, Cultures and Education


01482 465560

Kath Mckay is a fiction writer and poet who has built up the short story strand at the University Hull.

She has published two novels, two full poetry collections and one poetry booklet, while her short stories have been anthologised and broadcast.

Kath has won awards for poetry, short stories and a crime novel. She has given papers and written on short story writers Tim Winton, Flannery O’Connor, William Trevor and Ron Rash. In 2017, she co-edited an AHRC publication, End Notes.


Research Interests

  • The short story

  • Writing about the city

  • Crime writing

  • The Irish diaspora

  • Writing about grief and mourning

Research groups

Worked closely with colleague Ray French on the Crossing Over follow-on project ( 2017), of which one result was End Notes (see above).


End Notes: Ten stories about loss, mourning and commemoration (co-edited with Ray French), AHRC (2017)

'Reclaiming the Vulgar', in Know your Place, Nathan Connolly (ed), Dead Ink Books (2017)

Hard Wired (crime novel), Moth Publishing (2016)

Collision Forces (poetry), Wrecking Ball Press (2015)

Telling the Bees (poetry), Smiths Knoll (2014)


Programmes taught on (2019)

Modules list

  • Narrative and Narration ( Level 4)

  • The Storyteller’s Art ( Level 5)

  • The Short Story ( Level 5)

  • Creative Writing Portfolio ( Level 6)

  • Writing the Novel ( Level 6)

  • Writing the City ( Level 6)

  • Writing Short Stories ( Level 7)

Research PhDs

Kath welcomes applications in practice-led PhDs in fiction or poetry.

Current PhD supervisions 

Supervising one practice-led poetry PhD

Teaching awards and accolades

Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Continuing Education (University of Leeds)

Professional highlights

Academic qualifications

• BA Russian Studies (Queen's University Belfast)

• BA Spanish Studies (Leeds Metropolitan University)

• Postgraduate Diploma in Communications (Creative Writing), Goldsmiths College, University of London

External roles

  • Continuing to collaborate with colleague Ray French on work arising from the End Notes publication

  • Worked on many collaborations, including publications with the Humber Writers, 2010- 2014

  • Collaborated with the graphic artist Janis Goodman on projects on head lice and teeth

  • Visiting writer in Vaasa, Finland, as part of a six-strong Writers' Exchange scheme

  • Worked with Leeds Canvas in 2010 to research and write a piece called Watery Leeds, as background work for a 2012 project on Leeds and Water, by the Quay Brothers

Awards and accolades

  • Essay, 'Reclaiming the Vulgar', selected for Know your Place, a collection of essays on the working class, Dead Ink books (2017)

  • Gave readings and workshops for Mslexia magazine, and for the BBC 'Contains Strong Language' festival (2017)

  • Principal investigator for an AHRC grant (originally granted to colleague David Kennedy) to deliver the Crossing Over project follow on work, consisting of End Notes, a Death Café and a creative writing workshop alongside archaeologist colleagues (2017)

  • Won the Northern Crime Novel award 2016 with Hard Wired which was also selected for Read Regional 2017, whereby she gave readings around the North (2016-7)

  • Online tutor to writers in Africa for Crossing Borders (2003-2006)

  • Collaborated with Finnish and Yorkshire writers on a tri-lingual anthology, Interland, Smith Doorstop (2006)

  • Won the Poetry Business International Competition with her first collection Anyone Left Standing

  • Poetry has been published in magazines including The North, Magma, Rialto, Smiths Knoll, Brand, Red Ink, The Guardian

  • DVD of her poem, 'Working Metal', won first prize in the Leeds short film festival.

  • Won prizes for short stories and poetry in several competitions, including Fish, Bloomsbury, Ilkley, Northern Crime short stories, and Mslexia

  • Stories published in anthologies, magazines and online, and broadcast on Radio 4

  • Received several Arts Council awards (2007, 2004, 1995) for short stories, and to deliver performance pieces, often with other artists (2004, 2000 and 1998)

  • Greater North delegate to FESS (Festival of the European Short Story), Zagreb (2006)

Professional highlights

  • Worked at the School of Continuing Education at the University of Leeds and helped build up the creative writing programme

  • Worked for the University of Bradford and University of London colleges, including Birkbeck, Goldsmiths and Morley

  • Worked on health journalism for City Limits magazine and a Tower Hamlets community research centre