Professor of Creative Writing. I teach as a workshop leader on the MA in Creative and Life Writing, and also supervise students on the Creative Writing PhD.
- BA (Hons) English Literature, Trinity Hall, Cambridge 1985
- Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature 2007
- Fellow of the Royal Historical Society 2021
- Honorary Fellow, Trinity Hall, Cambridge 2021
Teaching and Supervision
- MA Creative and Life Writing (workshop leader)
- Phd in Creative Writing (supervisor)
Because I shift interest from book to book, my research has ranged from the cultural history of polar exploration to the poetics of childhood reading, from the imagination of engineers to theology, from the economics of Soviet planning to the politics and culture of 18th century New York, from the social history of 20th century South London to (now) the epidemiology of the Columbian Exchange, the journals of 17th century Jesuits, and the building of proto-states within the Mississippian Cultural Complex.
Some thinking about the search for a predictive science of human history is coming up in the distance. I am in general interested in the possible interconnections between ideas and lives, systems and individuals.
Further profile content
A documentary/non-fiction novel of experimental form, about the failed promise of utopia in 20th century state socialism
Unapologetic: Why, Despite Everything, Christianity Can Still Make Surprising Emotional Sense
A work of Christian apologetics aimed at the moment of maximum cultural influence of the 'New Atheists'
Novel set in colonial New York in 1746, written in the form and language of 18th century fiction
Novel about the 20th century transformations of South London, set in a fictional counterpart to New Cross
Trustee, Ragdoll Foundation (grants for child-focused cultural projects from the makers of Teletubbies)
Trustee, Jean Grove Trust (supporting primary schools in Ethiopia)
Grants and awards
2021: Booker Prize for fiction (longlisted)
2017: New York book award of the New York Society Library
2016: Costa First Novel Award
2016: RSL Ondaatje Prize
2016: Desmond Elliott Prize
1996: Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award