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Dr Vanessa Harbour is Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing. She has extensive experience in teaching practices at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, learning and teaching, research-informed teaching and research. In addition, she has many years' experience of research and development and management in both academic and the commercial sectors. She was the editor and co-founder of the e-journal Write4Children, The International Journal for the Practices and Theories of Writing for Children and Children's Literature.

Her PhD explored the issues of representation/representing sex, drugs and alcohol in young adult fiction and had a creative writing emphasis. Vanessa works alongside Imogen Cooper with the Golden Egg Academy. Her middle grade novel, Flight, was published by Firefly in August 2018. She has a book contracted by Palgrave Macmillan titled Writing Young Adult Fiction: A Creative & Critical Approach.

Areas of expertise

  • Creative practice
  • Representation
  • Writing for children
  • Children’s literature
  • Writing for young adults
  • The representation of issues such as sex, drugs and alcohol, cult and culture of the young adult/teenager
  • Creative writing pedagogy
  • Learning and teaching
  • Creative non fiction
  • Employability and skills development
  • Exploring creative and reflexive practice whilst embodying a social and cultural critical understanding


  • Editor and co-founder with Professor Andrew Melrose: Write4Children The International Journal for the Practices and Theories of Writing for Children and Children’s Literature
  • Harbour Vanessa, Flight (2018) Firefly Publishing
  • Harbour Vanessa, 'Trainspotting Opens up the World of Drugs But It's Not Here to Teach.' The Conversation, August 2014
  • Harbour Vanessa, Webb Jen, 'Between the Body. Food, cookbooks and not-eating' Text, Special Edition 28 2013
  • Harbour Vanessa, (2012): exploring the ‘authentic voice’ in young adult fiction.’ Teaching Creative Writing, edited by Dr Elaine Walker, The Professional and Higher Partnership
  • Harbour Vanessa, Longden Joanna, Golanski Hannah, Elphic Matt, Griffiths Hugo, Wilson Cara, Wraw Caroline, (2010) ‘It’s a WRAP! Students experience the reality of research’, Alfred, Issue 2, Winter
  • Harbour Vanessa (2010) ‘Online flexibility enhances research into writing for children’ Writing in Education, Issue number 52
  • Harbour Vanessa, (2008) ‘Substance Abuse from a Mother’s Perspective’, InnoVAIT, Sept
  • Melrose Andrew & Harbour Vanessa (2009) ‘Write4Children’, Capture, Volume 2
  • Melrose Andrew & Harbour Vanessa (2007) ‘Junk, Skunk and Northern Lights representing drugs in Children’s Literature’, Paul Manning ed., Drugs and Popular Culture, Willan Publishing

Conference Papers

  • Harbour Vanessa, 'Hope,' Inside/Outside Symposium, Gurkha Museum, University of Winchester, 2018
  • Harbour Vanessa, 'Flight of Fancy: Creativity: A personal exploration' NAWE Conference, York, 2017 
  • Harbour Vanessa, 'Keynote Panel with Melvin Burgess on Young Adult Fiction' University of Salford, 2016
  • Harbour Vanessa, 'A Fractured Mind That Echoes with Babel's Voices' AAWP, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand, 2014
  • Harbour Vanessa, 'The Right to write...write to right. Writing Representative Voices in Young Adult Fiction' Great Writing, Imperial College, London, 2014
  • Harbour Vanessa, 'A Fractured Mind that Echoes with Babels Voices', AAWP, Massey University, Wellington New Zealand, 2014
  • Harbour Vanessa, Webb Jen (University if Canberra) ‘Between the body and the world: Food, Cookbooks and not eating,’ NonFictionNow Conference, November 2012, RMIT, Melbourne
  • ‘FASTECH and Creative Writing at Winchester University’ FASTECH, July, 2012, University of Winchester
  • ‘Sex, drugs and rock and roll’ The art of leaving questions on the page in young adult fiction.’ As part of a panel with Professor Andrew Melrose and Melanie Newman. Great Writing, June 2012, Imperial College, London
  • ‘In a society where teenagers live by sound bites is there still a place for young adult fiction?’ This is an expanded paper which was presented at Great Writing, June 2011, Imperial College, London
  • ‘Even in Creative Writing...’ NAWE, November 2010, Cheltenham
  • ‘In a society where teenagers live by sound bites is there still a place for young adult fiction?’ International Research Symposium Creativity, Writing Culture, November 2010, University of Winchester
  • ‘Too Risky Never!’ The Emergent Adult, September 2010, University of Cambridge.
  • Writers for children step into the ‘Experiential Gap’ Great Writing: The International Creative Writing Conference, June 2009, Bangor University.
  • ‘Drugs in YAF’ Centre for International Research in Childhood: Literature seminar, February 2008, Reading University by invitation from Karin Lesnik-Oberstein
  • ‘Oh everyone does it!’ Drug use in young adult fiction International Research Society for Children’s Literature Roundtable, January 2009, Newcastle University
  • ‘Boys will be Boys’ Texas and South West Popular and American Culture Association, February 2007, Albuquerque
  • ‘I shall get well representing disability and illness and children’s literature from a writer’s perspective’ Association of Medical Humanities Conference, September 2006, Kings College London
  • 2012 Consultant working with Golden Egg Academy on various projects
  • 2012 - Runs the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Winchester branch organising various events


  • 'The Write Way' Workshop, RCGP, University of Winchester 2015
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