I specialise in Victorian literature and in research on reading and health. My publications include Faithful Realism: Elizabeth Gaskell and Leo Tolstoy (2002), George Eliot’s Middlemarch (2008), This is Living Art: Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Shakespeare (2012), and editions of Elizabeth Gaskell’s Wives and Daughters (2006), Margaret Oliphant's Novellas (2013) and The Ladies Lindores (2016), Elizabeth Barrett Browning's poetry (2014) and George Eliot's Scenes of Clerical Life (2015). I have published extensively on the power of literary reading to influence mental health and well-being and am engaged in research projects on reading in relation to chronic pain, self-harm, reading with children and families, and the psychodynamics of reading groups, with colleagues in Medicine and Psychology, and with national charity The Reader. My monograph, Is Literature Healthy?, was published by Oxford University Press in 2016, and I am currently editing an interdisciplinary volume, Reading and Mental Health, for Palgrave (forthcoming 2019) with 46 contributors globally. I am a Higher Education Academy National Teaching Fellow and a member of the AHRC Peer Review College.
- Vice-President (International Society for the Empirical Study of Literature (IGEL) 2019)
- Peer Review College Member (Arts and Humanities Research Council 2017)
- National Teaching Fellow (Higher Education Academy 2015)
- Royal Society for Public Health Commendation, Research Innovation in Arts & Health Research (Royal Society for Public Health 2009)
- Visiting Fellow (Competitive Fellowship, Baylor University, Texas 2008)
- Impact Lead, School of the Arts
- Co-lead, Arts, Mental Health and Wellbeing, Centre for Humanities and Social Sciences of Health, Medicine and Technology.
- Deputy Director, Centre for Research into Reading, Literature and Society (CRILS)