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Laura Jones

Research Student

Institute of Humanities

Contact Details



Doctoral research
Director of Studies: Prof Jean Webb
Second and Third Supervisors: Dr Andreas Mueller; Dr Paddy McNally

Historical Forms, Chronotopic Structures and Paratextual Persuasion in G.A. Henty's Historical Fiction for Children
My doctoral research examines the work of G.A. Henty between 1867 and 1902. In my thesis I explore the employment of historical material in Henty's writing and its formal development, from his telegrams to editors, his chronicles and diaries (later published in book form) produced during his role as War Correspondent, to the numerous historical fiction texts that he researched and wrote for children and other miscellaneous works in different forms. Alongside examining rhetorical structures, I formulate an author-specific definition of historical fiction and explore the consequences of publishing extracts and short story versions of Henty's historical novels. I draw heavily on Bakhtinian theory and employ the concept of the chronotope to expose the mechanics of meaning in Henty's work. My research is the first exploration of the paratextual aspects of Henty's oeuvre and I focus, in particular, on the prefaces. For my research I am indebted to the Brown collection which includes works by and about Henty and which was donated to the University of Worcester by a private collector.

About Laura Jones

About Laura Jones

A local girl, I studied for my undergraduate degree in English Literary Studies with History at the University of Worcester. During that time I was a student Institute Rep and member of numerous sports teams, Gospel and University Choirs and Loco Show Co. I also spent far too many months on crutches. An eternal bookworm, I discovered the wonderful academic world of Children’s Literature in a second year module taught by Prof Jean Webb; I chose to do my third year independent study on the boy-hero in modern-day Arthuriana using Kevin Crossley-Holland’s Arthur trilogy, under Prof Webb’s supervision. I successfully applied for a bursaried studentship to undertake research on the work of G.A. Henty and, ever since, have had the pleasure of working closely with Prof Webb and Dr Rachel Johnson. Through them I have met inspiring academics and passionate collectors. Thanks to my University bursary, I have had opportunities to speak at the most prestigious conferences in my field, across the world, and my friends Prof Webb and Dr Johnson have made these experiences tremendously amusing, pleasurable and memorable. I am currently finishing my thesis, using the magnificent Henty collection donated by Rev Brown, while also working at the University.

At the University I undertake hourly paid teaching, working with Prof Webb on her Children’s Literature module. I am a member of the International Forum for Research in Children’s Literature, for which I am also chief cake-maker and tea-party secretary. Passionate about teaching and learning, I work as the Institute of Humanities & Creative Arts’ first year tutor and have been engaged in research on retention, inclusivity and student welfare – in relation to all of which I am grateful to Prof Maggie Andrews for her wisdom and support. As last year, I will be speaking about postgraduate study at the Institute’s 2013 CareersFest and I have also been invited, for the past several years, to participate in the Beeline Storytelling Festival, Wychwood Festival and Worcester Literary Festival (all of which work with the University in various ways). For the past two years, I have enjoyed my work as a disability and dyslexia support worker immensely; through this, I have met some fantastic people and been able to experience lectures and modules from courses across the Institute as well as more widely across the University. The diversity of subject material that I learn in consequence keeps me stimulated every day.

I recently bought and am renovating part of a church in Worcester town centre and I spend my afternoons at weekends training my border collie, Flynn, in Flyball and Agility. I retired at an early age from rugby and have resolved to stick to tennis and the gym, currently focusing on competing in Ladies Figure at a bodybuilding competition in the summer and on personal training. I combine my love of baking with my interest in human nutrition and (after many requests) have just begun an online blog through which I share with athletes, competitors and healthy-eco-eaters nutritious and delicious recipes that reduce household food waste. 

Research interests

Research interests

My field of research is children's literature and, although I am particularly interested in British historical fiction and retellings of myth and folklore, I am beginning to explore these areas from an international perspective. I enjoy interdisciplinary approaches and have a newly discovered passion for picture-books, illustration and children's book design. My love of fitness and strength training has recently merged with an interest in sociological thought about the body. I recently accepted a columnist position for Iron Women Magazine, an academic and educational international and digital magazine for female bodybuilding and the female athlete, and am currently discussing two prospective cross-disciplinary co-research projects in the same area.



‘Mythmaking Children: The King That Once Was (or Were, or Wasn’t)’ in What Becomes Myth?Bristol Journal of English Studies, Issue 3, Spring 2013 (forthcoming).

‘Facilitating transition from further to higher education to improve retention: a first year tutor system (co-authored with Frances Taylor), Higher Education Academy Compendium of Effective Practice: Proven examples of what works in enhancing the student experience in higher education, 2nd edition, 2013 (forthcoming).

‘Writing and Righting History: Henty’s Nation’, The Nation in Children’s Literature; Nations of Childhood  Kit Kelen, Bjorn Sundmark  (eds) New York, Oxon: Routledge, 2013.

‘Through Three Campaigns, the Construction of English Identity Through Union of Past, Present and Future’, The Henty Society Bulletin, Royston: The Henty Society, 2009.

Conference papers and conference attendance

Conference papers and conference attendance

 Conference papers, poster presentations and panels

‘How can Postgraduate Research Students enhance the Undergraduate and Postgraduate Student Experience’ (panel), Annual UW Learning, Teaching and Student Experience Conference, University of Worcester, June 2013 (forthcoming)

‘Developing Support for First Year Student Induction in IHCA: A Students as Academic Partners Project’ (poster presentation), Annual UW Learning, Teaching and Student Experience Conference, University of Worcester, June 2013 (forthcoming)

‘Inclusive Teaching and Learning: A Student-led Appreciative Inquiry Approach’, Storyville: Exploring Narratives of Learning and Teaching, the 2nd annual HEA Arts and Humanities conference, Brighton, 29th-30th May 2013 (forthcoming)

‘The King that Once Was (or Were, or Wasn’t) And Will Be Post- or Post-Postmodernist? Revising and Re-visioning  Arthuriana in Kevin Crossley-Holland’s The Seeing Stone and Phillip Reeve’s Here Lies Arthur’, Mapping the Self conference, Oxford Brookes University, 15th December 2012

‘Inclusivity in IHCA: an Appreciative Inquiry’ (workshop), Institute Away Day, University of Worcester, June 2012

‘Flags, Fanatics and Friends (Though Divided): The Politics, Power and Persuasion of The Boys’ Historian’,  Revolt, Rebellion, Protest:  Change and Insurrection in Children's Literature ChLA, Hollins University, Virginia, 23rd-25th June 2011

‘Henty Prefaces: the Persuasive in the Paratext’, The Henty Society Conference, University of Worcester, 8th May 2010

Plenary also given at The Henty Society Conference, University of Worcester, 25th-26th May 2010

‘Textual Thresholds: Paratextual Playgrounds or Persuasive Peripheries?’ University of Worcester Research Student Conference, University of Worcester, 25th-26th May 2010

Nationalism(s) and Cultural Memory in Texts of Childhood, University of Worcester, April 10th 2010 (chair for session)

‘Historical Fiction: G.A. Henty’s Union of Past, Present and Future’, 19th Biennial Congress of IRSCL, Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt, 8th-12th August 2009

‘Through Three Campaigns: The Construction of English Identity in G.A. Henty’, Best of Three, ChLA, University of North Carolina, Charlotte, 11th-14th June 2009

‘Through Three Campaigns: the Construction of English Identity through Union of Past, Present and Future’, The Henty Society Conference, Ashwell, 8th May 2009

Conference/workshop attendance

50 Shades of Grey: A Twenty-First Century Cultural Phenomenon? symposium, University of Worcester, 11th December 2012

International Symposium on Children’s Literature Homerton College, Cambridge, November 2011

Great Expectations: An Introductory Day for Postgraduates beginning English Literature and/or Creative Writing Teaching, English Subject Centre conference, University of Bath, 17th May 2010

Writing National History
, British Academy, London, 4th March 2010

English (C19th-21st) Postgraduate Training Day, British Library, London, 1st February 2010

Conference organisation/hosting

World Congress of Performance Analysis in Sport, University of Worcester, June 2012 (conference ambassador)

The Henty Society Conference, University of Worcester, 25th-26th May 2012 (co-host)

The Henty Society Conference, University of Worcester, 27th-28th June 2010 (co-host)

Nationalism(s) and Cultural Memory in Texts of Childhood, University of Worcester, April 10th 2010 (co-host)


Assessing the Effectiveness of Inductions for Institute of Humanities & Creative Arts First Year Students (forthcoming)

Retention in IHCA (June-August 2012)

Reviewing Progression Rates in IHCA (June-August 2012)

Inclusivity in IHCA Project (February-June 2012)

Retention in Film Studies (June 2011)