Public engagement


Dickens and the Shakespeare Birthplace

A short film exploring Dickens’s connections to Shakespeare and the birthplace, recorded with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in April 2012.

Dickens, European Travel and Little Dorrit

In this piece I talk about nineteenth-century representations of Europe, and Dickens’s depiction of the continent in his 1855-7 novel Little Dorrit

Travel and mobility in Bleak House

In this podcast I discuss nineteenth-century travel and how Dickens uses mobility in his 1851-3 Bleak House.

A Novel Idea: the Victorian Books that TV Forgot

In this podcast for the Knowledge Centre I talk about why certain Victorian novels have attracted most attention from film and TV producers, and consider the value in recent adaptations such as Andrea Arnold’s Wuthering Heights.


Blogging & Online Writing

Journal of Victorian Culture Online

“February 7th marked two years since the bicentenary of Charles Dickens, and with it the release of The Invisible Woman: the film adaptation by screenwriter Abi Morgan, directed by Ralph Fiennes, of Claire Tomalin’s 1990 biography of Nelly Ternan, the woman who was Dickens’s mistress from 1857 until his death in 1870…” continue reading

“How do you see yourself: as a Victorianist, or as a nineteenth-centuryist? This was a question that came to mind several times throughout the summer as I attended two conferences that both raised questions about periodisation, categorisation and researcher identity…” continue reading

“In May 2013, the Capitol Theatre in Manchester staged a production of the play Brontë, by Polly Teale… I went to watch the production with fellow Victorianist and life-writing specialist Amber Regis, and in this filmed conversation we discuss some of the key issues and ideas that the play raised…” continue reading

“As part of The Global and the Local, the NAVSA/BAVS/AVSA conference held in Venice from 3rd-6th June 2013, I took part in one of the seminars that provided the opportunity for participants to put forward a short position paper on a chosen topic. The seminar on “Dickens: Local and Global” was led by Eileen Gillooly (Columbia University)…” continue reading

“Throughout 2012, the University of Warwick joined many institutions and organisations around the world in marking the bicentenary of Charles Dickens. Celebrating Dickens brought together researchers and students from the University to celebrate Dickens’s life and times…” continue reading

“It won’t have escaped the notice of readers of this blog that January saw the 150 year anniversary of the London Underground: the first underground line running from Paddington to Farringdon opened on 9th January 1863, marking the beginning of London’s expansive subterranean network of railway lines…” continue reading

“In 1837, Rowland Hill set out to reform the way in which a nation communicated with the publication of the pamphlet Post Office Reform: Its Importance and Practicability… I wanted to raise a couple of points that Hill’s pamphlet signals in terms of national belonging and connectedness, as well as its resonances in the British postal service today…” continue reading

“This week in my research I came across Maps of the Classics, a website where a selection of novels – mostly English, European, and American nineteenth-century novels – have been plotted onto interactive maps. Texts featured include Mansfield Park, Bleak House, The Mill on the Floss, and Anna Karenina.” continue reading

“‘My husband’s funeral is today. And I’m sitting here alone in my upstairs room while half London followed him to his grave.’ So begins Gaynor Arnold’s Girl in a Blue Dress, a novel which traces the story of Dorothea Gibson following the death of her estranged husband, famous author Alfred Gibson…” continue reading

“Thrilling images of Dickens’s London.” So proclaims The Playhouse theatre where Simon Callow’s “The Mystery of Charles Dickens” recently began a two-month run; just a few hundred yards away I began an afternoon of walking tours in which I was aiming to unpack these exact words, the notion of “Dickens’s London…” continue reading

The English Nineteenth-Century Novel is an honours-level undergraduate module in the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies at the University of Warwick… I set up a teaching blog for this module at the start of the 2011-12 academic year, having previously experimented with using a teaching blog for a first-year literary theory module…” continue reading

“The bicentenary of Charles Dickens’s birth on 7th February 2012 has prompted a wide range of celebratory responses across the world, with some prominent themes emerging in the proceedings … in Britain, neither is it unexpected to find events around the notion of “Dickens’s London” recurring throughout the 2012 celebrations.” continue reading


Feminist and Women’s Studies Association blog

“The idea that women were absent from spaces of travel has been usefully redressed by many studies of women’s travel writing in recent years, and it is by now familiar that women were active participants in modern forms of mobility in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries….” continue reading

“In the second of two recent studies on women’s travel writing in the nineteenth century, Churnjeet Mahn provides a valuable and much-needed exploration of women’s travel to Greece in the period 1840-1914…” continue reading

“Judith Johnston’s study is one of two recent publications by Ashgate reassessing nineteenth-century women’s travel writing… These books contribute to a burgeoning field of research on women’s participation in and writing about travel culture in the nineteenth century…” continue reading

“In both her professional and her personal life Mary Ann (later Marian) Evans, better known to us as George Eliot, stands as an impressive example of a woman challenging social expectations of femininity in the later nineteenth century…” continue reading


Open Letters Monthly

“Such was the sight that greeted Robert Hermann Schomburgk on January 1,1837 as he journeyed through Guiana backwaters on an expedition of discovery for the Royal Geographical Society. With eight foot leaves and twelve inch flowers thickly spread across the wide river basin, the “vegetable wonder” that Schomburgk beheld was like nothing the explorer had seen before…” continue readin

“When is a book a book, and when is it something more? What is it that matters about books, and where is that meaning made? Why, and how, do we value books? And how has the meaning of books changed: what did books mean in an era experiencing the rapid rise of print, and what do they mean to us now as we shift into the digital age?…” continue reading


Other guest posts

  • Travelling Bodiesguest post about my research on The Daily Dose (February 2013)

“Traveling bodies are everywhere and nowhere in the Victorian novel: they are often only briefly glimpsed, but these glimpses are increasingly apparent once you start looking more closely…” continue reading

“In the last few months building up to the bicentenary of Dickens’s birth, there has been an unprecedented level of interest in his life and works… But many popular writers of the nineteenth century haven’t remained so prominent in our literary culture, so what is it about Dickens’s work that continues to appeal to readers?…” continue reading


Radio and News Features

What the Dickens would have become of the Birthplace?; Stratford Observer, April 2012.

App reaches 10,000 downloads; interview on BBC West Midlands, 16th March 2012.

Dickens’s Local Connections; feature on BBC Coventry & Warwickshire, 7th February 2012. Read the blog post.


University of Warwick Book Festival

In my position as Research Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Study I am Director of the University of Warwick Book Festival, which held its inaugural event on Saturday 15th June 2013 at Warwick Arts Centre.

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