I read English at Selwyn College, Cambridge, where I went on to study for my MPhil and PhD. I was named one of the BBC/AHRC 'New Generation Thinkers' for 2015-2016 and was elected in 2016 to a Junior Research Fellowship at Trinity College, Cambridge, where I was also a College Lecturer and Director of Studies, before joining the Open University in 2022.
My current project examines life-writing and fiction in relation to one another in the Victorian period, in particular life-writing by and about female novelists, including Elizabeth Gaskell, Margaret Oliphant, Harriet Martineau and George Eliot.
My previous project, Plotting Disability in the Nineteenth-Century Novel, grew out of my doctoral thesis, and explored the role of disabled characters in the nineteenth-century novel, investigating whether characters' capacity to function in narrative terms is curtailed by the attribution of a social identity based on incapacity. In fact, I found the opposite to be the case: disabled characters perform a host of necesary narrative roles in the Victorian novel, and disability functioned as an enabling concept for nineteenth-century novelists, used to test the possibilities and limitations of the marriage plot, to explore questions of social and narrative justice, and to probe the connection between embodiment and identity. The monograph version mainly focuses on the work of Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, Charlotte M. Yonge, Dinah Mulock Craik, George Eliot and Henry James.
I am particularly interested in nineteenth-century fiction, in women's writing, in disability studies, and in nineteenth-century cultural history.