Liz Macwhirter

Research title: A novel and critical reflection

Research Summary

From Silence to Theopoetics: A creative-critical response to ontological suffering in a late medieval context that resonates with contemporary material and mystical interest.

As trauma research shows, emotional suffering can be hard to verbalise. Events feel too ‘present’, pain eludes description, complexity defies explanation; a person may choose silence or they may be silenced. My research project uses the form of a literary novel to create new ways to represent a range of liminal human experiences, including the spiritual. My characters explore themes of loss and exile, journeying and homecoming. The natural home for these non-dual experiences is as pre-modern as post-modern: the story takes place in late medieval Britain, when contemplative practice and political tension employed in the story still resonate today.

My praxis involves a creative response to primary texts from the period.


Macwhirter, L.J. (2018) Black Snow Falling. Scotland Street Press. ISBN: 978-1910895313



Yale Institute of Sacred Music – Initiative for Religion, Ecology and the Expressive Arts, honoraria payment for the additional performance of 'Blue: a lament for the sea'

University of Glasgow Research Support Awards 2023 towards a trip to present a paper at Yale University

Publishing Scotland Author Travel Fund: trip to Finland to present a paper 2022

University of Glasgow Research Support Awards 2022 to support Iona field research trip; creative-critical paper Finland trip

University of Glasgow School of Critical Studies, Strategic Research Support Fund 2021 to support Iona field research trip

University of Glasgow Centre for Scottish & Celtic Studies, Seedcorn Funding 2021 to support Islay field research trip

Creative Scotland 2010 funding for an early manuscript of Black Snow Falling



Yale GCRE 2023 (Graduate Conference in Religion and Ecology) Yale University 3.3.23 'Blue: a lament for the sea', a creative-critical paper.

Finncon ’22 Finland 9.7.22 Imagining a new poetics of the fantastic and resilient through a medieval dream vision poem.

Historical Perspectives PG Seminar Series online 23.3.22 Embodied spirituality: revisioning misogyny in late medieval Britain through creative practice research. 

Voice Conference University of Glasgow 10.6.22 Blue: a lament for the sea. 

Mystical Theology Network 1.12.22 Netherlands “My herte can thinke”: exploring Julian of Norwich’s embodied spirituality, the emotions, and trauma theology through interdisciplinary creative practice research.


Yale GCRE Yale University 3.3.23 Blue: a lament for the sea 20-minute long verse narrative performed solo with a film made by digital artist Jonathan Kearney, Senior Lecturer at Central St Martins. Kindly funded by Yale Institute of Sacred Music – Initiative for Religion, Ecology and the Expressive Arts.

Hidden Door Arts Festival Edinburgh 12.6.22 Blue: a lament for the sea (earlier version) 15-minute long verse narrative performed solo with a film made by digital artist Jonathan Kearney, Senior Lecturer at Central St Martins.


Writing Historical Fantasy University of Glasgow online 24.11.21 - panel event 

Dollar Academy World Book Day 3.3.22 - Speech to whole-school Assembly; Presentations to Form 1 and Form 11.

Edinburgh Writers Club Writing Young Adult Fiction online 8.3.21

Scottish Book Trust Live Literature event Hillpark Secondary School, Glasgow, 6.21

YayYA! Scotland’s festival for Young Adult Fiction 2019 - 6 solo events and 1 panel event

AyeWrite! 2019 - Black Snow Falling solo events at Castlemilk High School, Notre Dame High School, Glasgow

Soutar Book Festival 2019 - Emerging Writers Showcase panel event

Bramall Hall May 2019 Black Snow Falling Schools Day solo event with creative writing workshops

Cymera Book Festival 2019 - panel speaker Historical Fantasy

Edinburgh International Book Festival 2018 - panel speaker Feisty Fantasy; Coping with Change; Imprisoned Writers




Creative-critical research papers listed under Conferences (Yale GCRE 2023, Mystical Theology Network conference 2022, Finncon speculative fiction conference 2022, Voice PG Conference 2022, Historical Perspectives Seminar Series 2022).

Creative writing teaching outwith Univerisity to adults and YA listed under Conferences.