I’m a writer and traveller, with a passion for history and a pair of itchy feet. I’m fascinated by storytelling, nomadism, exploration, and the connections (or misconnections!) between past and present.
The Prester Quest, my first book, sets out from the canals of Venice to the highlands of Ethiopia, following the mission of a medieval physician sent in search of a mythical priest-king. It won the Dolman Travel Book Award.
My second book, Drinking Arak off an Ayatollah’s Beard, explores the Persian-speaking world through the lens of an 11th century epic poem, travelling from Tehran to the tomb of a medieval Sultan in Afghanistan.
I have written for The Guardian, The Observer, the TLS, the Globe and Mail and BBC Online, amongst other publications; spoken on BBC Radio 4 and NPR in the US; and have written plays performed at the Edinburgh Festival, the Finborough Theatre and the Actors’ Centre.
Books in order of publication:
The Prester Quest (winner of the Dolman Prize) – 2005
Drinking Arak Off an Ayatollah’s Beard (nominated for the Dolman Prize) – 2010
The Timbuktu School for Nomads – 2016
Epic Continent (nominated for the Dolman Prize) – 2019
The Fairy Tellers: A Journey into the Secret History of Fairy Tales – 2022