top of page
Bio
Bio

BIO

square profile picture - otley chevin forest_edited_edited.jpg

I am a writer and historian living in West Yorkshire. My work has appeared in both academic and literary journals, including Queerlings Magazine, Michigan Quarterly Review, Studies in Late Antiquity and Eidolon. I hold a PhD in Classics from Princeton University, where I also obtained a history of science graduate certificate. I am an alum of the Tin House Summer Workshop, where I studied creative nonfiction with E.J. Koh. My first book, The Care of the Brain in Early Christianity, was published in 2022.

Writing

My first published work was a piece of flash fiction about animated shopping trolleys (Young Writer Magazine, circa 1996). Since then, my work has ranged across many forms and genres, and in this ranging has maintained its weirdness. I have published poetry (including erasure and found poetry), short stories, translations, academic journal articles, book reviews, essays (both traditional and lyric), and a monograph.

The focus of my work is queerness, the body, mental disorder, and family history. These days, I often write at the boundaries between academic research and memoir (a mode known to some as autoethnography and to others as the personal essay) and between autobiography and fiction.

 

Indeed, I am particularly interested in these kinds of hybrid projects and the vulnerability they demand and evade: I am a member of an experimental writing collective at the University of Leeds, and I have a craft essay on hermit crabs (the essay form, not the crustacean) forthcoming (watch this space!).

 

Currently, I am completing a second book on the influences of classical antiquity on modern conceptions of psychiatry and mental disorder. This project has been supported by an Authors' Foundation grant from the Society of Authors.

Teaching

I have taught across a range of disciplines, including literature, history, religion, medical humanities, philosophy, linguistics, Latin, ancient Greek, English as a foreign language and academic skills. Currently I am undertaking a Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice at the University of Leeds.

 

Across the past two decades, I have taught in a wide range of institutions, including a high school in Tianshui (China), four prisons in New Jersey (with the Prison Teaching Initiative), a jail in Texas (with the Philosophy and Literature Circle), Princeton University, the University of Southern California, the University of Texas at San Antonio, the University of Sheffield, and the Lifelong Learning Centre at the University of Leeds.

In addition to academic teaching, I also run community-based creative writing and zine-making workshops. I have worked as a teaching artist for Gemini Ink, the Leeds LGBTQ+ Community Consortium, Leeds Poetry Festival, Leeds LGBT+ Minds, Leeds2023, and Arts and Minds. In spring 2024, I will offer a workshop on the essay form with Out on the Page. If you are interested in collaborating with me on a workshop, please get in touch.

History of the Brain

The Care of the Brain in Early Christianity (University of California Press, 2022) has been described by reviewers as "a significant contribution to the history of the brain" and "surpassingly well-researched and beautifully written." It explores early Christian adaptations of ancient Greek medical ideas about the brain for the purpose of shaping individual and collective identity within Christian communities. Its key intervention is to show how important the brain was to early Christian self-understanding and, therefore, the influence that early Christian preachers had on the modern concept of the "brain."

This monograph was based on my doctoral dissertation, Brain and Soul in Late Antiquity (Princeton University, 2016), which was written under the guidance of Brooke Holmes, Brent Shaw, Christian Wildberg, and Catherine Conybeare. A snapshot of my dissertation has been published on Ancient Jew Review.

I have also written numerous journal articles and book chapters related to the topic of the brain in early Christianity, and I have presented my work at conferences such as the regular meetings of the North American Patristics Society, the History of Science Society, and the Society for Classical Studies. I have given invited lectures at the University of California at Santa Barbara and Oberlin College.

My academic writing has won the following prizes: Peter R. Brown Prize; John J. Winkler Memorial Prize; North American Patristics Society Graduate Student Paper Prize.

I have been supported by grants from the following organisations: Princeton University (Center for Culture, Religion, and Society), University of Southern California, North American Patristics Society.

bottom of page