2 December. Paul Mellon Centre conference: Rereading Constable: Letters, Life and Art

Each paper focuses on a single letter. I'll be talking about a letter written by Constable while he was staying in Arundel with his friend the brewer and art collector George Constable. 

24 November. Pallant House. Revisiting Modern British Art: a conversation with curator Simon Martin and Ingram Collection director Jo Baring. 

5 October. Royal Drawing School. The Earth's Pencils: a conversation with Julie Brook.

The full session is available to watch at the link above, and if you'd like more information about the images Julie shows, you can explore her website here.  

29 September. London Review Bookshop. Perdendosi: a conversation with Edmund de Waal and Norman McBeath about their collaboration in words and images, now  published in book form by Hazel Press. 

2 September. Tate Liverpool in collaboration with University of Liverpool. A keynote talk in response to the exhibition Radical Landscapes

5 July. Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham in collaboration with Arts of Place. Trees of History

11 May. Harris Manchester College and TORCH Humanities Cultural Programme. Lunar Voyage with Tom Hammick






2 November. Oxford Centre for Life-Writing at Wolfson College. Interview with Ruth Scurr about her book Napoleon: Gardens and Shadows and experimental approaches to wriitng the lives of 'great men'. 


3-4 September. William Cowper: Art and Afterlife, a conference held in Cowper’s home town, Olney. My paper was called ‘A dash of white fire: Woolf reads Cowper’. 


May. ‘The Lives of Naturalists: Richard Mabey on Gilbert White’

Presented by the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing in collaboration with Arts of Place. 

In this conversation, Mabey reflects on his work as a biographer, and particularly on his long relationship with the great eighteenth-century naturalist Gilbert White of Selborne.

April. A conversation about Joseph Wright of Derby on the TLS podcast

February. Mrs Dalloway: The release of a Penguin Classics podcast recorded in London before lockdown.


12-13 November. ‘Dear Retreats: Hayley’s Places’, Hayley 2020, Fitzwilliam Cambridge (online). A conference exploring the life and networks of the eighteenth-century arts patron William Hayley. 

You can watch many of the video-papers from the conference here, including mine:

October. The Slightly Foxed Podcast: A Winter’s Tale.


25 October. The Forward Prizes Ceremony. Not, alas, at the Southbank Centre, but a superb celebration nonetheless, hosted online by the British Library. I had the exciting job of introducing the shortlisted poets and collections. A recording, featuring readings from all the poets, is available here.

August. Forward ‘Meet the Poet’ Interviews. Judges of the 2020 Forward Prizes for Poetry interviewed shortlisted poets at live online events throughout the summer. I had the chance to talk to Will Harris about Rendang, Vicki Feaver about I Want, I Want!, and David Morley about his book Fury. Recordings are available on the Forward website here.

March. Out of Silence, a series of four podcast conversations with Kate McLoughlin about lockdown and writers of quietness: Cowper, Shakespeare, Lawrence, Woolf. Here’s Cowper:

And Woolf:

keats chichester

7 March. ‘Between the Downs and the Sea’, The Keats Foundation Annual Lecture. 

A close look at Keats and his poetic predecessors in Chichester. 


12 October. ULEMLA: The London Literature Association. A lecture at Senate House on ‘Local Vision’, starting from Stanley Spencer's Nativity, which hangs nearby, and ending with Ford Madox Ford's writing of layered, interconnected landscapes of war and memory. 

6 October. Shoreham Wordfest: Shaping the Future. A Sussex festival with a special focus on landscape and environmental change. I talked about weather histories, and enjoyed meeting archaeologists, geographers and historians with long experience of working in the South Downs.

25 July. Pallant House, Chichester. Ivon Hitchens: Landscapes, an event linked with the exhibition Ivon Hitchens: Space through Colour. Photographer Simon Roberts and I talked about ‘sense of place’ and what Hitchens made from the woods and heaths around him. Roberts was commissioned to make new work in response to Hitchens and the result was a gripping photographic and sound series, Inscapes.

19 June. RSL Dalloway Day. The second annual celebration of Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway and many things relating to it: life, London, this moment in June. I was interviewing Dame Gillian Beer at the British Library after her talk on ‘Love and Presence’.

12 June. ‘Book at Lunchtime: Delius and the Sound of Place’, an open event at Radcliffe Humanities in Oxford. Panel discussion of Dan Grimley’s new book on Delius.

17 May. Centre for Literary Editing and Material Texts (CLEMT), University of Birmingham. Contributing to the Annual Symposium, I spoke about documents of place history that can come in all shapes and sizes, including swan rolls.

7 May. Southbank Centre. I interviewed Robert Macfarlane about his new book, Underland.

12 May. Oxford Centre for Life Writing: a celebration for supporters at St Clement Danes, London.

articulation prize

With Regional Finalists for the 2019 Articulation Prize

7 February. ARTiculation Prize Regional Heat, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. It was an honour to judge the Central Southern Final. Every finalist spoke with conviction, knowledge and individuality about art and it was truly exciting to be there. The ARTiculation Programme is run by Roche Court Educational Trust, and invites A-level students to give a public talk on a work of art they have chosen. There’s no need to be studying art history: openness and interest are the only requirements.




8-11 November. Charleston to Charleston Festival, South Carolina

Charleston, the Bloomsbury house in Sussex, is collaborating with the Library Society of Charleston, South Carolina, to present the second Charleston to Charleston festival. The programme is spectacular and I'm very glad to be going. I'll be asking Ramie Targoff about her new biography of the Italian Reniassance poet Vittoria Colonna, and on Armistice Day, Bill Goldstein and I will be talking about literature after the war. 

7 October. 'Local Visionaries', the Robert Hutchison Lecture at Winchester Poetry Festival

"The very stones in the garden walls are my intimate acquaintance" - William Cowper, 1783. I'll be discussing Cowper, Stanley Spencer, and Ford Madox Ford.

29 September. Small Wonder Festival, Charleston. With Suzanne Joinson and Tim Dee. 

Image result for harris dalloway day

20 June. Dalloway Day. "Life, London, this moment of June..." A series of events organised by the Royal Society of Literature. I spoke at the National Portrait Gallery and then went on to the British Library piazza for readings and conversation with Hermione Lee. 

31 May. Hay Festival. Ground Work / The Life of Landscape. Conversation with Tim Dee as part of the University of Birmingham Hay speaker series. 

1 June. Wayfaring. An excursion away from the main festival site for a walk and some talking up in the mountains at Llanthony Priory. 

19 April. 'Inspiriing People' lecture at Godolphin School, Salisbury. A pleasure to speak in the beautiful auditorium, and to meet staff, parents, and some brilliant sixth formers. 

Jaipur biography

January. Jaipur Literature Festival. It really is 'the greatest literary show on earth'. 

Juliet Nicolson and I discussed Orlando with Adam Nicolson and a Front Lawn audinece of 3000 festival-goers. 

Lucy Hughes-Hallett led a panel of biographers and I contributed some of Woolf's ideas about life-writing. 

I joined Adam Nicolson and Hugh Thomson in a conversation about nature writing chaired by environmentalist and botanical writer Pradip Krishen.  

Me at JLF.jpg

 18 January. Rural Riders and Radicals at the Museum of English Rural Life, Reading. 

The MERL is an immensely rich and well-presented collection relating to all aspects of rural life in England. The array of wagons, one from each county, is not to be missed. I was lucky to collaborate with MERL as part of their Arts Council project on 'intangible heritage', ie all the skills and arts and traditions that form our culture but which aren't physical objects you can put in a museum cabinet. I wrote a story about what does and doesn't survive from a rural life - see under 'Essays'. And I went back to talk about forms of manual and book-learned local knowledge as part of a series masterminded and chaired by historian Paddy Bullard. 

Black and white image of a man riding a grey working horse in a field with haystack in the background



At Jewish Book Week, 2017

30 November-1 December. Landscape Now, Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. 

18 November. John Piper at Tate Liverpool. In the week that Tate's major new Piper show opens, I'll be in conversation with Piper's biographer Frances Spalding. 

14 November. Interview with Claire Tomalin about her memoir A Life of My Own, Blackwell's bookshop, Oxford. 

23 September. Woodstock Literary Society.

16 August. North Norfolk Music Festival, South Creake.
I will be giving a short talk on the Sitwells in advance of a concert by Harmoniemusik, including a performance of Façade.

7-11 August. Wordsworth Summer Conference Part 1, Rydal Hall. I'll be giving a lecture on Woolf's readings of Romanticism, especially William Cowper and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. 

4-6 July. ‘A change in the air: weathers, words, and landscapes’. As part of the conference Mediating Climate Change at the University of Leeds, I will be giving a public lecture on 5 July at 5.45. 

1 July. A talk at the Inspiring Landmarks exhibition in Spitalfields, where artists will be showing work made in response to Landmark Trust buildings.

29 June- 2 July. The 27th Annual Conference on Virginia Woolf. This year the conference is at the University of Reading, and focusses on ‘Woolf and the World of Books’. I’ll be giving a paper on Woolf’s reading of William Cowper. 

13 June. New Readings of Place and Nature, with Peter Davidson, Fiona Stafford and Jonathan Bate. 5.30pm, Oxford English Faculty, seminar room L, drinks to follow and all donations to Archbishop Romero Trust.

27 May. Lives of Houses symposium, organised by the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing.
I took part in a roundtable discussion of the ways in which houses are presented to the public, and I gave a paper called ‘Moving Home’ on William Cowper, Charles Lamb and the complicated business of moving house.

5 May. Virginia Woolf Day at St Hugh’s College Oxford. I spoke about Woolf’s adventurousness and about her visit to St Hugh’s in May 1927. She gave a talk on ‘Poetry and Fiction’, later revised and expanded as ‘Poetry, Fiction and the Future’, one of her most radical essays about the possibilities of prose.

4 May. Compton Verney. I gave a talk about weather and landscape to coincide with the exhibition Creating the Countryside

9 April. Landscape and Literature Study Day, Weald and Downland Museum, Singleton. I spoke on depictions of the South Downs as part of a fascinating symposium organised by novelist Suzy Joinson. 

5 March. Jewish Book Week at King’s Place, London. ‘Constancy and Change’ with Rachel Lichtenstein. 


28 November. The South Downs, a symposium organised by The Oxford Reseach Centre in the Humanities in association with the National Trust at St John’s College Oxford. I spoke on artists, light, and chalk. 

28-30 October. Liverpool Literary Festival.
Our inaugural festival was a great success and saw the University’s beautiful Victoria Gallery packed with speakers and visitors. I chaired a discussion of Frankenstein with Miranda Seymour, Andy Sawyer, and actors Ellie Hurt and Isobel Balchin from the acclaimed Young Everyman production of Philip Pullman’s adaptation.

15 October. Wells Literary Festival.

16 September. Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival.

2 July. The Artists of Great Bardfield: A Symposium, Murray Edwards College, Cambridge in association with the Fry Art Gallery . I’ll be talking about rural modernism and landscape painting.

28 May. Charleston Festival. A talk about Weatherland.

11 March. Daunt Books Festival, Marylebone.

22 February. Weinrebe Lecture in Life-Writing, Wolfson College, Oxford. ‘Tempered Lives: Biography and the Seasons’. This lecture examines the ancient analogy between the seasons of the year and the ages of man, looking back to medieval understandings of the temperaments, and asking how far ideas of a seasonal arc have influenced individual lives. The full lecture is available as a podcast:

2 January. Winterland. A concert of music and readings at Llanveynoe church in the Black Mountains.


3 December. Lecture at Gladstone's Library, Flintshire

28-29 November. Cambridge Winter Festival. On the Saturday I'll be interviewing Richard Mabey about his Cabaret of Plants, and on Sunday I'll be talking about my own book Weatherland with Robert Macfarlane.

26 November. Daunt Books event at Burgh House in Hampstead.

16-17 November. I'll be in Sweden, giving a lecture (on the 16th) at the University of Uppsala and (on the 17th) at the University of Stockholm.

11 November. A talk about Weatherland at Topping Bookshop in Bath.

4 November, 7pm. A talk at Reading Town Hall, hosted by the Reading branch of the Royal Meteorological Society.

29 October. A public lecture at the University of Newcastle.

24 October. Cambridge. A conversation with Ali Smith to mark the 20th anniversary of the Artworks studios in Cambridge.

20 October. Manchester Literary Festival. Virginia Woolf: Reader, Writer, Pioneer.

19 October. British Museum. A talk about Weatherland.

18 October. Ilkey Literary Festival. A talk about Weatherland.

15 October. The National Portrait Gallery and the Royal Society of Literature talk.

3-4 October. Hatfield House Garden Festival.

26 September. The Cloud Appreciation Society Conference, Geographical Society.

16 September. The London Review Bookshop. A talk about Weatherland.

24 January, The Virginia Woolf Birthday Lecture, Senate House, London. See Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain for details


26 September, Liverpool WW1 Centenary celebrations. In the afternoon I will be running a workshop on Mrs Dalloway for A-level students (please contact University of Liverpool Special Collections to book a place). In the evening I will be giving a public lecture on Stanley Spencer and other war artists at the Victoria Art Gallery and Museum (please see VGM website for time and tickets).

2 July 2014. Discussion of weather at Medieval Meteorology Symposium, University of Reading.

8 July. Lecture with Daisy Hay for the Friends of National Libraries, Burlington House (members only – please see FNL website for details of how to join and support national library collections)

16 June. Royal Society of Literature event at Somerset House. I will be talking about Virginia Woolf with Maggie Gee, whose new novel,Virginia Woolf in Manhattan, imagines Woolf in the twenty-first century

28 February, 3pm. Blackwell's Oxford, free public talk, 'Why Study English?'

13 February, 7pm. Blackwell's Oxford, Oxford World's Classics Balloon Debate. I will be chairing an evening of discussion and vote-casting as seven World's Classics editors debate which classic book should be kept on board a sinking hot-air balloon.


25 October. Gibraltar International Literary Festival, lecture at 4pm.

5 October 1.45. A talk on Virginia Woolf at the Ilkley Literature Festival, Yorkshire.

29 September, 3pm. Southbank event as part of The Rest is Noise season of twentieth-century music. I will be talking about Britten, Piper, and modern pastoral with contemporary artist George Shaw.

20 August, 5.45. Proms Plus event at the Royal College of Music, preceding Prom 51 (Tippet, Britten and Elgar). I will be exploring Britten's settings of poetry with actor Sam West. The discussion will be broadcast on Radio 3 in the concert interval.

30 July, from 6.45pm. 'Drinks with Virginia Woolf': an evening of ideas and discussion spent in the gardens of Fenton House in Hampstead.

14 June, 3pm. Aldeburgh Festival: a panel discussion called Perspectives on Britten with the tenor Mark Padmore and writer Rob Young.

4 April, 7pm. 'Man Ray Among the Writers' at the National Portrait Gallery: a lecture and conversation with Richard Davenport-Hines in conjunction with the exhibition Man Ray: Portraits.

25 March, 6pm. Live recording of my radio essay 'A Taste for the Baroque' at St George's, Bristol.

22 March, 10am. A talk about Virginia Woolf at the Oxford Literary Festival (Christ Church, Blue Boar lecture theatre).


22 November, 6.30pm. A talk on research methods for postgraduate students at Birkbeck College, London.

14 November, 5.15pm. 'A Variable Breeze: Virginia Woolf and the Climates of Literature', a talk for the 20/21-Century Seminar, English Faculty, University of Oxford.

18 October, 6.30pm. The annual John Betjeman Lecture, organised by the Betjeman Society, Cowcross Gallery, London.

6 October, 11.45am. Lichfield Festival. A talk about Virginia Woolf.

20 September, 12pm. University of East Anglia, London Campus, panel discussion of academics in trade publishing as part of Sarah Churchwell's 'ThoughtOut' project.

7 September, 10am. 'Changing their Minds: Virginia Woolf and Edith Sitwell', a lecture for the Virginia Woolf Society, Lee Wood Hotel, Buxton.

16 August, 2pm. Edinburgh Book Festival. 'Literary Legends' event with John Mullan.

26 July, 7pm. 'Bronte Weather', an evening of readings and discussion at Haworth Parsonage.

10 June, 11am. Keynote lecture at the 22nd International Conference on Virginia Woolf, Saskatoon.

2 June, 10am. I will be talking at the Hay Festival.

14 April, 4.30pm. I will be at the Cambridge Spring WordFest

9 March, 5.30. To Aldeburgh for the literary festival, where I will be talking about Virginia Woolf.

1 March. A lunchtime talk about Virginia Woolf at the National Portrait Gallery, London.

23 February. An evening at Modern Art Oxford, discussing the work of Graham Sutherland with artist and curator George Shaw and the writer Michael Bracewell.

25 February, 3pm. A talk for the Woodstock Literary Society.

12 January. Pallant House Gallery Chichester. I will be talking about Virginia Woolf (with the best of modern British art in the background.


2 December, 7.30pm. Suffolk Book League, St Joseph's College Library, Ipswich. An illustrated talk on Romantic Moderns. See the Suffolk Book League Websitefor further details and the full programme of monthly speakers.

14 October. Chapter & Verse Literature Festival at the Bluecoat. On familiar ground in Liverpool at last!

11 October. Cheltenham Literature Festival.

22 September. Topping Books, Bath. A talk about Virginia Woolf.

20 September, 7pm. Daunt Books, Marylebone. I will be talking about the life and work of Virginia Woolf.

15 September, 6pm. Betjeman Festival, Wantage. I will be talking about Romantic Moderns as part of the first Betjeman Festival.

10 September. University of Sussex 50th Anniversary Celebrations. I will be doing an event with Colin McKenzie, director of the Charleston Trust, to mark the long association between Charleston and the University of Sussex.

20 August, 10.30am. Edinburgh Book Festival. I will be doing a joint event with Kathleen Jones, author of a new biography of Katherine Mansfield. The discussion with be chaired by Claire Armitstead.

14 August. Wilderness Festival, Cornbury Park. My first talk at a music festival! I will be taking part in a panel discussion with Frances Spalding and Sally Bayley about the meaning of 'home'. This event is sponsored and hosted by TOAST. I have also written a feature for Toast Travels. Read it here: 'Pass, Measure and Mark'

21 July. Buxton Festival

11 July, 7pm. Southbank Literature Festival, London

9 July, 4.30pm Malmesbury. I will be giving a talk about English landscape as part of the PhilosophyTown Festival.

11 June, 10am Sotheby's, Bond Street. I will be taking part in a panel discussion about British Art with Gill Hedley and Patrick Wright to mark the sale of the Wilfrid Evill Collection.

29 May. Charleston Festival. I will be at Charleston Farmhouse in Sussex, in conversation with Olivia Laing, whose new book To The River tells the story of the Ouse.

18 May, 6pm. University of Bristol/Bristol Fesival of Ideas. I will be talking about Romantic Moderns at the Arnolfini. The event is jointly hosted by the History of Art Department Transnational Modernisms Research Cluster and the Festival of Ideas.

14 May, 3pm. A talk at Mascalls Gallery in Kent, where a new exhibition of John Piper's work will be on display.

28 April, 6.30pm, National Portrait Gallery, London. To mark the NPG's spring exhibition of photographs by Ida Kar, I will be taking part in a discussion with Peter Conrad about ways of'Picturing the Artist'.

17 April. Cambridge WordFest

16 April. I will be giving a talk on the idea of the English village in the 1930s, as part of a conference called English and Welsh Diaspora at Loughborough University.

8 April, 10am. Oxford Literary Festival

29 January. 'Towards Re-Enchantment' writers' symposium in Aldeburgh, part of 'After Sebald: Place and Re-Enchantment - A Weekend Exploration'.


10-12 December. 1910 Centenary, University of Glasgow. I will be giving a paper on 'Virginia Woolf in 1910' as part of the British Association of Modernist Studies Conference celebrating Woolf's famous remark that 'On or about December 1910 human character changed'. Visit the conference website for more information.

7 December, 7.00pm. Daunt Books, Marylebone. An evening talk on Romantic Moderns. To book telephone 020 7224 2295 or visit the shop.

4 November, 7.00pm, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester. I will be talking about Romantic Moderns at Pallant House in Sussex, home to one of the best collections of modern British art.

27 October, 7.00pm. Off The Shelf Festival, Millennium Galleries (Long Gallery), Sheffield. I will be giving a talk on Romantic Moderns in connection with the current exhibition at the Graves Gallery.

26 October, 7.00pm. London Review Bookshop, 14 Bury Place, London. An evening talk on Romantic Moderns followed by wine.

14 October, 10.00-11.00am. Cheltenham Literature Festival. I will be talking about Romantic Moderns.

7 October, 7.00pm. Mela Hartwig Evening at the Austrian Cultural Forum, London. I will be talking about Virginia Woolf and the refugee novelist Mela Hartwig as part of an event organised by the Dalkey Archive Press.

3 October, 5.00-6.00pm. Ilkley Literary Festival. I will be talking about Romantic Moderns as part of a joint event with Anne Chisholm, author of Frances Partridge: The Biography.

27 September. Launch of Romantic Moderns.