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About Helen


A pioneering advocate for diverse representation in storytelling, Helen’s internationally bestselling screenwriting guide, The Woman in the Story: Writing Memorable Female Characters, first published in 2010, has played – and continues to play – a key role in championing progressive representation of women in the industry: on the page, at the keyboard and behind the camera.

Helen’s work, through her innovative masterclasses, panel events, keynotes and story consultancy, has empowered thousands of writers all over the world to write the stories they want to write. By invitation from federal screen agencies, she has worked with high level writers, directors and producers as a trainer, story mentor and script editor. Her books are core text books on numerous filmmaking and screenwriting academic and professional courses all over the world, often cited, and triggering creative and critical research.

Helen frequently judges international writing competitions, including Best Short Script Prize, Woman Over Fifty Film Festival. As a writer, Helen has developed numerous projects with international producers and brands, spanning feature film, television, radio drama, and luxury brand campaigns.

In 2018 Helen founded Shedunnit Productions through which she develops and produces her own multi-platform projects. She is the creator of Elvira Slate Investigations, the first intersectional feminist fiction series that subverts and revises 1940s crime. Helen has been interviewed widely on the subject of feminism, crime and noir, and give many public talks on the subject. 

 Helen gained her MA Screenwriting from the London Institute and PhD from the University of the Arts London. She is a member of Women in Film and TV UK , The Crime Writers Association  and the Writer’s Guild GB

Helen lives in St Leonards on Sea, UK, with her husband and two cats.

Organisations Helen has worked with include:

  • Screen Australia
  • Austrian Film Institute
  • Screenwriters Forum, Vienna
  • Film Victoria
  • Screen New South Wales
  • Norwegian Film Institute
  • The BFI
  • Women in Film and TV UK
  • Women in Film


'No writer has more intricately explored what contemporary writing for and about women means about us today than Jacey….this book is a must."
Celia Walden
The Daily Telegraph
‘Just the byline makes me want to write a screenplay with women in it so I can use this book.’
Gillian Anderson
Actor, Sex Education, X-Files
‘The Woman in the Story not only guided me to expand my thinking about female characters I’m developing, it stimulated me to think of new stories to develop about the female experience. It literally expanded my thinking and my mind.’
Susan Cartsonis
Producer, What Women Want, Carrie Pilby
‘Delves deep and comes up with revelatory ideas about female characters…profoundly original…distils and transforms the way you see women.’
Sarah Gavron
Director, Suffragette, Brick Lane
‘Wonderful… intelligence, sensitivity, and insight from a hands-on, experience female screenwriter.’
Suzanne Mackie
Producer, The Crown
Helen's astute observations on my story were invaluable and enabled me to see exactly where my project needed further development. She's supportive, encouraging, honest and incredibly insightful. I can't recommend her highly enough. The confidence she gave me also inspired me to reach out to people in the industry and, as a result, I now have a producer for my short film.
Louise Monaghan
Screenwriter & Winner of Best Short Script Prize, Women Over Fifty Film Festival