Department of English and Creative Writing

Visiting address
302 Fincham, Digby Stuart

Phone: +44 (0)20 8392 3339


Co-Director of the Literature & Culture Research Centre, Roehampton University.

Convener of the BA English Literature Programme, Roehampton University.

Visiting Researcher, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Prizes & Awards

North Senior Scholarship, St. John's College, Oxford.

Oxford University Frere Exhibition for Indian Studies.

The High Road to China (2006) was shortlisted for the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Biography.


BA Hons. First Class. English & Related Literature, University of York.

D.Phil., University of Oxford.

Research interests

My research research focuses on cultural, commercial, botanic and linguistic exchange between Britain and Asia in the colonial period. I work on travel accounts, colonial writing, botanic gardens and lexicography.

I am currently currently writing a history of Kew's Palm House and the cultural and economic significance of palms in the nineteenth century.

I recently edited Hobson-Jobson: The Definitive Glossary of British India by H. Yule & A.C.Burnell for Oxford World's Classics.

I welcome PhD applicants, especially those interested in writing on India, colonial discourse, botanic gardens and travel writing.

Consultancy work

Television & Radio

Consultant and main contributor to Hobson-Jobson: A Very English Enterprise (BBC Radio 4, 2012). Contributor to documentary features broadcast on Channel 4 (An Indian Affair, 2001), BBC Radio 4 (Crossing the Black Waters 2002, Tibet on the Banks of the Clyde, 2010) and ABC (Late Night Live: The Buddha of Boundless Light meets the Glaswegian, 2006).

External Assessor

Yale University Press, Oxford University Press, Routledge, Palgrave Macmillan, Broadview Press, Journal of Imperial & Commonwealth History, Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture, Interventions, Studies in Travel Writing, Journal of the History of Ideas.


I teach undergraduate modules on colonial and postcolonial texts, travel writing and the literature of multicultural Britain.

I have taught MA modules on the literature of race and empire and on literary exchanges between India and Britain.



Research projects

My forthcoming book, The Palace of Palms: Kew's Palm House and the British Imagination will be published in 2020 by Picador. 

I gave a public talk on the project for Birkbeck Arts Week 2018: '"Gigantic Children of the Sun": Kew's Palm House and the Victorian Cultural Imagination (17.5.18)

Research outputs

  1. Hobson-Jobson: The East India Company lexicon

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Enlightenment Orientalism: Resisting the Rise of the Novel

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Hobson-Jobson: A Definitive Glossary of British India

    Research output: Book/ReportBook

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