I am a writer and researcher interested in literary reading, consciousness, and mental health, as well as a recovery coach for people with restrictive eating disorders. At the University of Oxford, I am a Research Associate at The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH), and coordinator of the Baillie Gifford Writing Partnerships Programme for the Humanities Division. For 2020-21 I’m also an Associate of Pembroke College, Oxford.
My academic background is originally in French and German, more recently in cognitive literary studies (the study of how minds relate to literary texts). I write a blog on eating disorders called A Hunger Artist for Psychology Today, and have a separate site, hungerartist.org, where I gather together the aspects of my work focused specifically on disordered eating and recovery.
Other current and recent roles and projects include:
- Doing research (theoretical and empirical) on whether reading fictional (or other narrative or linguistic) texts can have positive and/or negative effects on people with eating disorders, or vulnerable to them
- Co-authoring the third edition of the textbook Consciousness: An Introduction with Susan Blackmore (published in April 2018)
- Writing a book about anorexia, neither self-help nor memoir but hopefully something more interesting (with the working title The Hungry Anorexic)
- Designing an app to support recovery from anorexia
- Working with the University of Oxford Careers Service on a range of projects to support students and early-career academics, including an initiative called Overcoming a Sense of Academic Failure (which currently includes a workbook and a series of five audio podcasts) and a blog post series on resilience
- Expanding a podcast series called Textual Therapies exploring the interactions between texts and health.
In case you’re interested in exploring whether some kind of multistranded career structure might work for you, I wrote a little piece on the pleasures and the difficulties of managing a ‘portfolio career’ for The Oxford Guide to Careers 2019, and another for the British Academy’s case study series on the career pathways of doctoral graduates. You can find more resources on this topic, including a workbook I created, on the Oxford Careers Service website here.
At the moment, I split my time between my narrowboat on the Thames in Oxford and an apartment in Pasadena, LA. I find respite from the laptop screen in driving my boat, my convertible, and a cow-spotted campervan around Britain, in walking the vast expanses of the San Gabriels, and in lifting heavy weights (and encouraging other people to).