About Me

The son of an actor and a teacher/artist, I was born in 1966 in Effingham, England. I grew up in Richmond-upon-Thames, attending Greycourt School and Richmond College, then studying English at Exeter University and Christ Church, Oxford.

An aborted doctoral degree coincided with a decade playing and coaching Ultimate Frisbee – including co-founding the Oxford University Ultimate team, OW! – and the start of my career as a teacher and writer. I first taught English as a foreign language at a language school on the Banbury Road, Oxford, then in Valencia, Spain; and went on to teach 20th Century literature, film and creative writing to visiting students at Mansfield and Wadham Colleges, among others. I also performed in and co-directed numerous amateur plays, including Bernstein’s Candide (at The Oxford Playhouse) and Christopher Marlowe’s Dr Faustus (at The Old Fire Station).

In 2004, following a four-month excursion to South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the Fiji islands, I moved from Oxford to Bath to work full-time with Advanced Studies in England, and in 2010 became its Dean and Director. When time allows, I still teach two courses: The Beast, Big Brother and Beyond: Post-war British Fiction on Film; and Mementoes: Reading, Writing and Remembering.

A is for Donkeys

My first publication, an illustrated alphabet book, A is for Donkeys, is a collaboration with my friend, the Italian artist Riccardo Guasco (pictured with me and his wife, Ilaria). It was first created by my partner, Yvonne, as a surprise present for my 50th birthday. The private unveiling, at my party in October 2016, was accompanied by many expletives; the public launch in Bath, in January 2017, by an exhibition of illustrations at 44ADartspace. This has since been followed by an exhibition at Blackwell’s Bookshop, and at Turl Street Kitchen, both in Oxford.

I am a lover of good and bad puns, an admirer of the work of Edward Gorey, Angela Carter, David Bowie and Banksy, a Liverpool FC fan and a dedicated transatlantic dad.

I would like to thank Jane Austen and Sir John Tenniel for their invaluable influence on my work.