I am a writer and researcher interested in mental health — especially in eating disorders, and in the connections between mental health and fiction-reading. I am a Research Associate at The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH), and 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. I also have a separate site, hungerartist.org, where I gather together the aspects of my work focused specifically on disordered eating.
Current and recent projects include:
- Research (theoretical and empirical) on whether reading fictional (or other narrative) 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 (out in April 2018)
- Writing a book about anorexia, neither self-help nor memoir but hopefully something more interesting (with the possibly viable working title The Hungry Anorexic Learns To Eat)
- Designing an app to support recovery from anorexia
- Designing a recovery coaching programme to support people with experience of a restrictive eating disorder like 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)
At the moment, I split my time between my narrowboat on the Thames in Oxford and an apartment in the old town of Pasadena, LA. I find respite from the laptop screen in driving my boat, my campervan, and my convertible around Britain, in walking the vast expanses of the San Gabriels, and in lifting heavy weights (and encouraging others to).