(photo: Edward Thomas Fellowship)


Hello. I’m a writer and academic, and you can find out more about my work here.

I am a Professor of British Literature and Culture. I work on Edwardian England, the First World War, ‘simple life’ movements, and the literature of 1900-1945, especially Edward Thomas and his contemporaries, but my interests are wide-ranging.  My biography of war poet Wilfred Owen was published by Yale University Press in 2014 (with the paperback in October 2015). My next book for Yale University Press, Peace At Last: A Portrait of Armistice Day, 11 November 1918, 11 November 1918, was published in 2018.  Both books were widely reviewed. Peace at Last was published in paperback in December 2022.

A General Editor of Edward Thomas’s prose for Oxford University Press, I am currently editing my third volume of Edward Thomas’s prose for that series.  My first two volumes of his prose were published in 2011.  I also co-edited Branch-Lines: Edward Thomas and Contemporary Poetry (2007).  I gave the British Academy’s Chatterton Lecture on Poetry in 2018. This lecture was published by The Journal of the British Academy: ‘”I should want nothing more”: Edward Thomas and Simplicity’.

I studied at St Andrews University (first-class MA, with the Class Medal, the Rutherford Prize and the Wyatt-Fenty Prize) and then at The Queen’s College, Oxford University (M.Phil and D.Phil, both funded by the AHRC), and I have held lectureships at Oxford, Swansea, Brighton and Queen Mary, as well as a teaching fellowship at St Andrews. I was a Moore Institute Visiting Research Fellow at NUI Galway in 2015-16, and an Ernest Walder Memorial Scholar at Gladstone’s Library during 2017.

On 3 March 2022, I gave my inaugural professorial lecture: ‘A Return to Nature: The pursuit of “the simple life”, from Edward Thomas to the present day’.  The recording is now available on YouTube.

Recent media appearances include In Our Time (BBC Radio 4 and BBC Sounds) and three episodes of Shedunnit (BBC Sounds).


‘[a] brilliant portrayal of Britain on the day that peace broke out, when people could believe there was an end to the war to end all wars. He weaves a wonderful tapestry of the mood and events across the country, drawing on a wide range of local and regional newspapers. It is accessible history at its best. […] outstanding’

(Peace At LastThe Evening Standard, 8 November 2018)




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