About me

At the Royal Institute of International Affairs, London, I worked first as production editor and book reviews editor of Chatham House’s foreign policy journal, then editor-in-chief. I worked at Chatham House for nine years. Then, visiting the city of Istanbul in 1992, I was so impressed by the directness and simplicity of the great Ottoman mosques I saw there that I went to live in Cairo, Egypt, to study Islamic architecture. I wrote a thesis on the development of a Mamluk main street in medieval Cairo.

I am a communicator, and I love to present ideas from one culture to new audiences in another.  Now that I’ve lived so long outside my native London, first in the Middle East and now in Scandinavia, I have got used to looking into a culture from the outside, then stepping inside it and looking back at my own – and juggling the two.

My main reading interest at the moment is the transition from realism to modernism in the English novel and the influence of the First World War on English poetry. I have also just discovered James Joyce, who I can’t stop reading. I have been an energetic campaigner against Brexit, and seem now to be becoming a novice birdwatcher.