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About Me

I am a writer, broadcaster and academic. I teach at the University of Cambridge and I have a doctorate from the University of Oxford. My research focuses on Romantic literature and early celebrity culture. I'm particularly interested in fan mail, fan fiction and early forms of social networking. I regularly appear on BBC Radio as a New Generation Thinker and I'm the presenter of Literary Pursuits on BBC Radio 3. I am currently writing a novel about Mary Shelley.

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My first episode of Literary Pursuits for BBC Radio 3. The Radio Times described it as "The best thing I've heard all year."

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In this chart-topping podcast, I give the comedian Ed Gamble a lesson on Lord Byron.

My second appearance on YD2M, this time talking about Mary Shelley with the comedian Lauren Pattison.


A three-part series on the artistic and cultural landscape of Australia. It includes interviews with Geoffrey Rush, Courtney Barnett, Baz Luhrmann and Richard Flanagan.

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This was an essay I delivered live at the Free Thinking Festival in Gateshead. It's all about Byron and what might be considered the first ever fan letters.


I talk about the history of breastfeeding, and the social and political implications of the way we choose to feed our babies. Recorded live at the York Festival of Ideas.

I look at the surprising impact that the eruption of a volcano in Indonesia two hundred years ago had on Europe's cultural landscape.


This was my first Sunday Feature, on the influence of fan mail on writers including Lord Byron, Tennessee William and Virginia Woolf.

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In this series on environmental activists, I look at the poet Judith Wright who was instrumental in saving the Great Barrier Reef.


My fourth appearance on YDTM, talking about the life of Mary Wollstonecraft with Greg Jenner and Cariad Lloyd.

Nineteenth-century vampire chat with Ed Helms and Greg Jenner.

Home: Recent Books



20 November 2018

A review of two books about Ada Lovelace

8 June 2016

The TLS's cover story on the burning of Byron's memoirs

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