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What is a typical day at work for you? 

There is no typical day at work for an English Literature Lecturer! Usually the only constant is waking up early to check emails just in case there is anything to respond to that day. Other than that, it can be a combination of research, preparation, teaching or marking. With a heavy dose of admin also thrown in. The job is never the same, and there’s always something new to do!

What is your favourite part of your job? 

As suggested by the above answer, it is one part having the flexibility and variety of duties so that one day is never the same, and another part being able to talk about one of my great passions on a daily basis. This job is always busy but never boring. I love discussing complex ideas with a group of enthusiastic people; there is nothing more satisfying than seeing realisation or understanding in people’s faces, or hearing the collective ‘Ahhh!’ which means that they’ve understood! I do also love submerging myself in the silence of a library, surrounding myself with books, and just soaking up all of that information. I’m a bit of an ideas magpie; if I find something shiny and interesting I’ll run with it and try and write something about it. This has led me to have articles published on a wide-range of eclectic topics, such as Frankenstein, uses of hair in the Victorian period, firelight, and Science Fiction.

Do you have any exciting upcoming projects? 

I am currently working on a project with the National Trust concerning Erddig Hall in North Wales. There is a fascinating collection of portraits and poems dedicated to the servants of the house, which were commissioned and written by the masters before being hung up in the servants’ quarters. It’s very rare to see this kind of relationship within a big eighteenth and nineteenth-century country house, so I’m conducting some archival work with Flintshire Records Office to try and figure out exactly why they were created, and what the actual relationship between staff and the Yorke family was. I’m due to present my findings at a Departmental Research Day in April 2019.

What is the best thing about English Literature? 

Our lives are shaped by the stories we are told, and the stories we tell ourselves, and our interaction with everything is bound up in the framework of language, so in effect, English Literature is about everything. Studying English Literature gives you the scope to explore ideas of psychology, philosophy, sociology and many more areas that you may not expect. I think it is this diversity of focus that makes English Literature such a great subject to both teach and research. I love the power of words, and I’m really lucky to have a job where I can spend most days thinking about them.

What has been your proudest moment while working at the University of Chester? 

There are a lot of proud moments that happen while working at the University of Chester! Some small, regular ones, like when you can see that a particular student has taken feedback and advice on board, and has really pushed themselves to create some really high-quality work. Then there are slightly bigger ones, like when my first published book was delivered to my inbox in the Department! Or after that when I experienced the highly surreal moment of seeing my book on the library shelves for the first time!

Choose a movie title for your life:

Difficult question. I completed a quiz online that told me it was Bridget Jones’s Diary. But my life definitely isn’t like hers! Star Wars?! I don’t know. Maybe Dazed and Confused sums things up about right.

If you could have a superpower what would it be?

Definitely the ability to split myself into lots of different copies. I’d have so much more time on my multiple hands. My clones could do my admin tasks! And the washing up!

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