Senior Lecturer (Creative Writing), University of Portsmouth

I am author of The Realm of the Punisher (Signal Books, 2018), a 'political travelogue' of the Philippines that grapples with, amongst other things, the presidency so far of Rodrigo Duterte. James Hamilton-Paterson has said of it, ‘At last! A Western journalist/academic writing about the Philippines who has done proper homework and legwork, and who clearly has affection for both the country and its people.’

I have also written about Philippine culture, politics, history and society for Private Eye, The Telegraph, Monocle, Red Pepper, The London Magazine, Southeast Asia Globe and many other publications. My essay 'Language, gender and orientalist rhetoric in American fiction and travel writing on the US conquest and colonization of the Philippines (1898–1929)' appeared in the peer-reviewed Journal of Postcolonial Writing earlier in 2018. I am currently preparing an academic monograph that critiques Western literary representations of Manila's urban topography and social/ethnic communities. The book also engages with the relationship between these constructions and the colonial and post-colonial histories of the Europe, the United States, the Philippines and wider Asia.

I've written a chapter for the edited collection A Global History of Literature and the Environment (Cambridge University Press, 2016) and my academic articles and book reviews have appeared in the Journal of Postcolonial Writing, Social Identities, Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction and Children’s Literature Review.

In addition to my academic work, I remain an active journalist. My work has appeared in Private Eye, New Statesman, The Scotsman, The Telegraph, New Internationalist, New African, Red Pepper, Travel Africa, South East Asia Globe and numerous print and digital media around the world.

I have co-edited a collection of political journalism and five anthologies of travel stories. The first, No Such Thing as a Free Ride? (Cassell Illustrated), was serialised in The Times and named The Observer’s Travel Book of the Month. I am one of the founding editors of Star & Crescent, a hyperlocal community news, culture and commentary website focusing on the Portsmouth area. Star & Crescent has published a great deal of writing and visual art by University staff, students and alumni. I was recently awarded an Innovation Accelerator grant from the faculty to produce Pompey Writes, an anthology of the best work that has appeared on the website since 2015.

TEACHING RESPONSIBILITIES
I am unit coordinator for Professional Writing and The Magazine. I also teach on units across Creative and Media Writing including Travel Writing, Media Writing for the Press and Tips, Tricks and Techniques. On the Urban Sociology unit in Humanities, I have delivered lectures about Manila as a 'developing world megacity' and on psychogeographical writing about London.

RESEARCH
My main areas of research interest are:

Creative nonfiction
Travel writing
Literary journalism
Reportage
Postcolonial literature and history
Psychogeography
Urbanism
Philippine literature and history
The new wave of science fiction literature
My PhD partly comprised an autobiographical travelogue entitled Searching for Manila which, in keeping with the conventions of the genre, ‘freely mixes narrative and discursive writing’ (Raban, 2004) and draws upon both empirical data and theoretical concepts to arrive at an understanding of contemporary Manila. Therefore, while Searching for Manila can be situated as a creative prose narrative it is, at the same time, a form of research practice. The critical aspect of my PhD explored the formal strategies of the autobiographical travelogue, 'third world blues' and the ethics of representation, the challenges of converting real-life experiences into prose narratives and Anglo-American textual constructions of Manila 1851 to the present day.

Experience

  • –present
    Senior Lecturer (Media and Creative Writing), University of Portsmouth