I’m an English lecturer and a literary historian, working on British 19th, 20th and 21st-century literature and publishing. I’ve done this for a long time, and I’m interested in the kind of books my great-grandparents and their friends and families would have read: the ordinary novel for the ordinary reader who didn’t have a lot of time or spare cash for books, but enjoyed what the library could offer. This is book history, publishing history and the study of publishing from the reader’s perspective. I’ve taught in several European universities (the Open University, Ghent, Louvain-la-Neuve, Radboud Nijmegen, Paderborn) but am now a Visiting Fellow at the Department of English Literature at the University of Reading. The list of my scholarly publications is here. The link to my page in academia.edu is here. And you can find me on LinkedIn here.
I’m now also a publisher. Read all about how I’ve set up the Handheld Press, and what I hope to do with it, here.
When I teach I put my students in the position of a reader in the past, getting them to think about how books were written, marketed, sold and presented to the reader in exchange for money. If the books I study had to compete with buying daily food, or a new pair of shoes, I want to know how and why that novel, or those books of essays, or the cookbook, won that choice.
As a spin-off from teaching, I wrote three years of podcasts, for Why I Really Like This Book, from May 2011. In autumn 2014 I stopped messing about with technology I didn’t really understand to focus on the writing, because that’s the bit I always enjoyed most. The lightly edited podcast transcripts are posted here as blogposts, not necessarily in the order they were first broadcast.
Do you have a question? Send me a message here:
Some time in the future, photos and knitting patterns will appear too, but not this day …