I’m a literary historian, interested in British 19th, 20th and 21st-century literature and publishing. My book history research has been based on the reading choices of people like my great-grandparents and their friends and families: the ordinary novel for the ordinary British reader from the beginning of the 20th century who didn’t have a lot of time or spare cash for books, but enjoyed what the library could offer. I wanted my students to think about how books were written, marketed, sold and presented to the reader in exchange for money. If buying books 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. My publishing history research has been focused on British publishing during the First World War, with an unexpected jump to the 1960s and 1970s in the permissive era.
I taught in several mainland European universities and at the Open University and at the University of Reading (no pun intended), in the UK. I’m now a Visiting Fellow at the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies at Oxford Brookes University. The list of my scholarly publications is here. You can find me on LinkedIn here but I very rarely do anything on that site.
I’m also a publisher. Read all about Handheld Press, and what we publish, here.
From May 2011 I wrote three years of podcasts, for Why I Really Like This Book (now closed down), as a spin-off from teaching. 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, so the podcast ended and this site was born. I’ve reposted most of the podcast scripts here, 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 …