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I am a writer, artist, oral historian, archivist and curator, and a part-time Lecturer in Creative Writing at Westminster.
My first book, Rodinsky's Room (1999, co-written with Iain Sinclair), began as a personal quest and evolved into a compelling psycho-geographical adventure. Now considered a classic of its genre, it has been translated into five languages. I am currently writing a trilogy of nonfiction works exploring different London streets. The first book in the street series, On Brick Lane (2007), was shortlisted for the Ondaatje prize. The second book, Diamond Street: The Hidden World of Hatton Garden, was published in 2012. To coincide with the publication of this book I also developed the Arts Council funded Diamond Street App.
I am the author of A Little Dust Whispered, Keeping Pace: Older Women of the East End and Rodinsky’s Whitechapel. A new book, Estuary: A Deep Exploration of Place, is forthcoming. My work has received extensive coverage in the national print and broadcast media, and I have contributed to a number of anthologies and publications. In 2003, I was The British Library’s first Creative Research Fellow.
I originally trained as a sculptor and my artwork has been widely exhibited both in the UK and internationally. Venues include Whitechapel Gallery, British Library, Barbican Art Gallery, Woodstreet Galleries (Pittsburgh) and the Jerusalem Theatre (Israel). I have also curated multi-media exhibitions, literary salons and literary festivals, including Shorelines: The World’s First Literary Festival of the Sea for arts organisation Metal, alongside poet Lemn Sissay.
I teach on the BA Creative Writing and MA Creative Writing: Writing the City programmes. I am currently module leader for the MA modules ‘Creative Practice’ and ‘Digital London’.
I have previously taught at City Lit and also run (with co-tutor Sukhdev Sandhu) nonfiction creative writing courses for the Arvon Foundation.
Over the past twenty years I have conducted countless walking tours around Whitechapel, Spitalfields, Hatton Garden and Clerkenwell, with diverse groups of people, including elderly former residents, school children, university students, festival and conference participants, private parties and foreign tourists.
As well as being a Lecturer in Creative Writing I am also a Research Fellow in the Institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture at Westminster.
My website provides further details of my current projects.