About me

I am a doctoral researcher (nee Tessa Thorniley) in my second year of a PhD in the department of English, Linguistics and Social Studies, under the supervision of Anne Witchard, Leigh Wilson and Simon Avery (department of English). My research looks at how Penguin Books has shaped Anglophone readers' responses to China through its paperbacks (1936-1949). I am currently looking in detail at short stories and articles published in the literary journal edited by John Lehmann, Penguin New Writing (1940 - 1950). Prior to beginning my research, I lived in China for seven years where I worked as a freelance journalist for mostly British newspapers and magazines. I received an MA in English Literature from Edinburgh University and went on to work as a business journalist at several UK national newspapers. After leaving the UK in 2005, I worked in Italy (Rome) for several years before moving to China in 2008. My PhD research combines both my interest in how China is represented in and by the West and my love of middle brow literature. 


I have taught on the Representing World Cultures module (part of the Art & Visual Culture MA) at Westminster University, run by Sara Dominici. The seminar focused on literary representations of China in the 1930s and 1940s. 


 My research looks at how Penguin Books' paperbacks have shaped readers' responses to China (1936-1949). My current research is particularly focused on a collection of stories about or themed around China in the literary journal Penguin New Writing (1940-1950) edited by John Lehmann. As PNW featured the stories and essays of British writers alongside those by Chinese writers (in translation) it is of particular interest to me. As well as the essays and stories themselves, my research is looking in detail at the flourishing of cross-cultural literary friendships and relationships in the 1930s and 1940s that enabled many of these works to be published. 

I have received dissertation fellowship funding to conduct research in the John Lehmann archive at the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas, in November 2017. http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/research/fellowships/recipients/2017/ In particular, I will look at correspondence between John Lehmann and the Chinese writers Ye Junjian, Yao Xueyin, Zhang Tianyi and the Sinophile Harold Acton.