Emily Hay


Research title: Quenis awne hand’: the literary agency of Mary Queen of Scots in shaping her own public image, 1567-1587

Research Summary

The ‘Quenis awne hand’: the literary agency of Mary Queen of Scots in shaping her own public image, 1567-1587

My doctoral research evaluates the cultural image of Mary Queen of Scots as presented in her own writing: her self-portrayal in poetry and correspondence in the period 1567-1587. It also contrast this self-fashioning against the images of Mary portrayed by others in published propaganda both for and against her in Britain in the same period. My analysis recentres the narrative of Mary in her own words and reveals, for the first time, the extent to which her enduring public image is based on her own agency as an author, and how much was outwardly projected onto her.


  • SGSAH AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership Scholarship, 2021-present, £70000.
  • Joanna Baillie Scholarship for Research in Scottish Literature, 2020-2021, £5000.
  • Neil Munro Medal for Highest Achieving Single Honours Student in Scottish Literature, 2020.
  • Douglas Gifford Prize for Excellence in Scottish Literature, 2020.


  • 'Murderer, Mother, Martyr? Mary Queen of Scots and Writing the Self' at ICMRSLLC, St Andrews, 19-22 July 2023.
  • 'Performing Power: Self-Presentation(s) in the Imprisonment Writings of Mary Queen of Scots' at Performing and Resisting Power in Early Modern Life, University of Leeds, 18-19 May 2023.
  • ‘Reception Revisited: Re-reading Mary Queen of Scots Casket Sonnets’ at 3rd World Congress of Scottish Literatures (IASSL), Charles University - Prague, 22-26 June 2022.
  • 'This PhD Life: Conference as a Site of Community' at 15th Annual LEADS Learning and Teaching Conference, University of Glasgow, 29 March 2022.
  • 'Why PGR Internships Are Worth Doing' at This PhD Life, University of Glasgow, 26 January 2022.
  • 'Protestant Print Politics and Catholic Conversions in Mary Queen of Scot’s Casket Sonnets' at Theories, Ideologies and Experiences in the Early Modern World (Northern Early Modern Network), University of Newcastle, 20-21 January 2022.



GTA, Scottish Literature 2A (SCOTLIT2001)

GTA, Scottish Literature 2B (SCOTLIT2002)


GTA, Scottish Literature 2A (SCOTLIT2001)

GTA, Scottish Literature 2B (SCOTLIT2002)

Additional Information

Public Engagement

‘Making a Myth: Mary Queen of Scots and Textual Identity’, Hunterian Museum ‘Friday Focus’ Talk in conjunction with The Afterlife of Mary Queen of Scots exhibition, 20 Jan 2023.

'Seditious Sonnets and Groovy Togs', Time Travels, BBC Radio Scotland, 25 June 2022.


Research and Evaluation Intern, Scottish Book Trust, 2023-24.

PG Intern, Centre for Scottish and Celtic Studies, 2021-2022.

PGR Events Intern, UofG Researcher Development, 2021-2022.

Committee Member, Symposium for Seventeenth Century Scottish Literatures, April 2022.

Committee Member, Scot Lit 50 PGR Symposium, Feb 2022.