I was born in the same small Midwestern farming town as my father, to which he and my British mother had briefly returned from where they met in the arid Northern Frontier District of Kenya. My parents were - and are - wildlife conservationists, and they soon took my brother and me back to East Africa, where I grew up trailing them around the most extraordinary corner of the planet. I spent my adolescence at school in Switzerland and then went to university in London, New York, Oxford and Cambridge, with periods living in New Orleans and Mexico in between. My brother followed the family trade (as a wildlife filmmaker and photographer), but I took a different path, and now teach medieval and Renaissance literature at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. I live not too far from the College with my wife and my two sons.
I am currently working on my fourth work for a general audience, which is under contract with William Collins and should be published in 2024. I have also written essays for a range of media publications, including Prospect, BBC World Histories Magazine, the London Metro and Foreign Affairs. My writing has been supported by a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship (2016), a Leverhulme Fellowship (2019) and a Guggenheim Fellowship (2022).
You can see my faculty profile here, which contains links to academic publications.