Me and barn owl

I am a teacher, academic and writer, living in Cranbrook, Kent. Formerly a visiting lecturer at Royal Holloway University, I currently combine my writing with caring for my lovely daughter, Islay (and another one on the way very soon!). I began a PhD in 2010 to combine two of my great interests – medieval poetry and birds, and this became my first book, Birds in Medieval English Poetry. You’d be surprised just how popular birds are in medieval poetry, music and manuscript illuminations! This blog, too, came out of a desire to combine passions: to present some of my academic research for a wider audience, alongside and fused with regular entries from my nature writing. The product is, I hope, something that combines nature notes from my birdy adventures with a more contemplative look at how important the natural world has always been in our arts, culture, memories, heritage and histories. I make no apologies for the fact that there may well be an historical bias towards the medieval!

My writing and teaching, academic or otherwise, are important aspects of my general conservation interests and participation in public engagement projects. I am on the steering committee for New Networks for Nature and co-director of Medieval Ecocriticisms, both of which aim to promote and inspire care and action for the natural world.


Academic publications 
Birds in Medieval English Poetry: Metaphors, Realities, Transformations (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2018)

‘A New Latin Analogue to the Cuckoo-Motif in The Seafarer and The Husband’s Message‘, Medium Ævum, 19:1 (2019)

‘Native Foreigners – Migrating Seabirds and the Pelagic Soul in The Seafarer’, English Studies, 98:8 (2017), 825-45

”Kek kek’: Translating Birds in Chaucer’s Parliament of Fowls‘, Studies in the Ages of Chaucer, 38 (2016)

Non-academic publications
‘Finding the Fieldfare’, The Curlew (forthcoming, spring 2018)

‘Same Difference: Debating Chaucer’s Parliament of Fowls’, Earthlines, 12 (July 2015)

Exeter Book Riddle 57 translation and commentary, The Riddle Ages (https://theriddleages.wordpress.com/)

Jeremy Mynott, Birds in the Ancient World: Winged Words, reviewed in Medium Ævum (forthcoming)

Alison Langdon, ed., Animal Languages in the Middle Ages: Representations of Interspecies Communication, reviewed in Studies in the Age of Chaucer (forthcoming, December 2018)

Michael McCarthy, The Moth Snowstorm: Nature and Joy, reviewed in Earthlines 13 (November 2015)


The site’s current header image is a goldfinch from British Library, MS Stowe 17, f. 25v.

Goldfinch, MS Stowe f.25v.jpg

Previous headers include a bluet tit from BL MS. Roy. 3 D.vi, f. 1116r.

Blue tit

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