Hayley O'Kell

Hayley O'Kell


I graduated from the University of Leeds with First-Class Honours in BA English and Spanish in 2018. Funded by the Cowdray Scholarship, I completed an MA by Research under the supervision of Professor Duncan Wheeler and Dr Rebecca Jarman last academic year. My MA by Research thesis was entitled, Women’s claims to their bodies, social space and knowledge in Early Modern Spain: Redefining gender relations in the seventeenth century novelas of María de Zayas y Sotomayor and Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra.

I am now a first-year PhD Candidate in SPLAS and my current research is generously funded by the White Rose College of the Arts & Humanities (WRoCAH). 



Research interests

My WRoCAH-funded research focuses on neglected female voices in the early modern Iberian Atlantic, giving due space to the creative craft of Hispanic female voices that have been perpetually overlooked in the scholarship. It aims to appreciate the complex movement of individuals within the Iberian Atlantic, including both metropoles and colonies. It probes the gendered dissemination of power within a colonial matrix and how the experience of being female in each of these spaces largely varied. A refracting experience that can be investigated through the literature of the period, Inquisition records, letter correspondence and legal records, to name but a few historical sources. Giving due attention to female narratives that have been disregarded by previous scholarship or that lie at the peripheries of the Iberian Atlantic is one of the central aims of my PhD research.

My current PhD project is supervised by Professor Duncan Wheeler and Dr Rebecca Jarman. I am also the co-editor of the MHRA Working Papers in the Humanities journal from 2019-2021. 


Selected Conference Papers

  • (2019) Durham Early Modern Studies Conference 2019. Presented a paper entitled, ‘“Me hallé perdida”: Women, Property and Patriarchy in the Prose Fiction of María de Zayas y Sotomayor’ as part of the panel, ‘Women and Civil Social Customs in the Hispanic World.’
  • (2019) LCS Postgraduate Conference: New Voices, New Perspectives. Presented a paper entitled, ‘Re-reading the female body and reimagining women’s responses to violence in the seventeenth-century prose fiction of María de Zayas and Miguel de Cervantes’.


Other Academic Achievements

  • Participation in the National Archives Postgraduate Archival Skills Training Course (January 2020). Fully funded by White Rose College of the Arts & Humanities.
  • Translation of Daniela Fejerman’s Gente Estúpida. (2019) Co-translator of Daniela Fejerman’s Gente Estúpida/Stupid People for an English performance of the play at the Cervantes Theatre in London in which I worked alongside Dr María Bastianes.
  • Organisation and hosting of the International Writers at Leeds Event with novelist Amy Sackville (2019). I organised the event and led the conversation around her new novel on Spanish Baroque painter, Diego Velázquez, Painter to the King.
  • Assisting the Early Career Research Representative (Dr Rebecca Jarman) with ECR events (2019 onwards). I organised for the Early Career Researchers in the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies to attend a play at the Yorkshire Playhouse. I intend to assist Dr Jarman with further events in the future, during the course of my PhD.


  • BA Honours in English and Spanish (First-Class)
  • Master of Arts by Research