I took my first degree and PhD at Cambridge, where I was also a Junior Research Fellow. I then taught at Sheffield, Warwick, and Aberdeen, where I was Regius Professor of Humanity. I am now a Senior Research Fellow at Campion Hall, Oxford. I have published widely in fields ranging from early medieval studies, neo-Latin, and women's writing, to cultural history. My most recent book, Baroque Between the Wars, came out in January 2018.
I have two clusters of research interests which relates to the early middle ages, and another which relates to the Renaissance and early modern periods. The unifiying factor is working on Latin poetry by women, but in the early period, I have also worked on issues to do with Christianisation and literacy (principally with respect to Ireland and Anglo-Saxon England), and in the later period, I have some subsidiary concerns such as court and élite culture more generally, and my chief interests are focused on England and Italy. Having recently sent my Women Latin Poets book to Oxford, my next projects are an edition of the seventeenth-century scholar-poet Lucy Hutchinson’s translation of a key work of nonconformist theology for the Clarendon collected edition of Lucy Hutchinson (general editor, David Norbrook), and an edition of the Latin hymns of the Irish Church. Thereafter I hope to work on women scholars and poets in Baroque Rome.
I also have a second ongoing career as a literary novelist. Some of my work in this area consists of actual historical novels, but even those that are set in the present day are often concerned with the interaction of the past with the present. I am also a literary journalist and reviewer.