~ About Me ~

Wayward Words
& Curious Questions

Words, words, words. I live for words, especially the unruly ones that sneak into unexpected (and uncomfortable) places. Turncoat words that mean one thing, and then another, and then again another, depending which way you turn them. Words that are inside out, themselves and one another. 

Answers are great, but they don’t interest me much. Kudos to lawyers and doctors who need to give them every day! I enjoy the leeway that writing allows: aimless ambling along intriguing paths that criss-cross, exfoliate left and right, and end up folding in on themselves; tracing through thought-thickets is the goal (if there is one at all). And perhaps, along the way, we pick up something that makes sense, or seems so, at least, at least for now. The question(s) is where it’s at.

I’m also one for giving attention to small things, and spending time with the minute and overlooked. Such as [{(^-*#,/!\.;<“>&?)}]


During the day, I’m a researcher of Renaissance literature, a podcaster, radio maker, essay writer, educator, and author of the upcoming title from Profile Books An Admirable Point: A Brief History of The Exclamation Mark!.                                                                                                                                                                         

During the night, I can be found star-gazing, folk-fiddling, doggo-cuddling, garden-veg-pickling, arm-chair philosophising, and youtube-rabbit-holing (from sharks to drag queen shows – I’m an easy victim to the algorithm!). 

I was born in Berlin-West, and dimly remember the wall coming down (and that’s how old I am!). We lived just a stone-throw away, in the middle of Kreuzberg, when it was still rough and real. Immigrants, working-class Germans, squatters. You had big Turkish families barbecueing next to beer-drinking punks, and all in benevolent peace. Divers, authentic, edgy, and weirdly residential at the same time, my Kreuzberg childhood had me soak up that taste for multi-cultural co-existence.  

I was the last of four girls, which my dad loved, being a thorn among the roses… Ours was a typically Kreuzberg household, a mixture of East and West, with our mom a true Prussian generation after generation back, and our dad a new Berliner by choice, having arrived in Germany as a student in the 70s from his native Iran.

“What’s typically German?”, I get asked all the time. I have no idea at all. What’s Iranian? I don’t know either. And yet I have inklings, of course. But rather than one or the other, I consider myself a wanderer in between worlds, words,  and ways of being. That’s probably why I like books and became a writer: to stroll in and out of people’s minds, and the paper habitats of stories.

education & employment

Family legend has it I was able to read by the age of three. I’d like to think that’s true, Some of my earliest memories are of my sister Daisy sitting next to me on the bed, and correcting me while reading out loud a book about a yellow dog (she’s a German teacher now, no surprise there!).

I can’t remember ever not having a book with me, be that at the breakfast table, under the shower (yes, just in case it gets boring standing there), and of course on the way to school. I credit Harry Potter for making me late to school (a lot!), being so captivating that I forgot to get off the bus at the right stop. Damn you, J.K.R. for writing seven volumes! 

Chronic school-lateness didn’t prevent me from doing well, though, and I ended up studying English literature in Cambridge — much to the dismay of my French teachers, and after some post-school digression (including attempting to start veterinary medicine…), I arrived at Lucy Cavendish College.

Lucy Cavendish College, a.k.a. "The Nunnery".
Me & my boys at St Andrews PhD graduation.
We kiss like Romeo, by the book!

From 2008 to 2011, I read English for a Bachelor’s degree at Lucy. Those were formative years not only regarding my learning about literature, but also my thinking and writing. All this word-juggling, the way my mind works and my thoughts and feelings translate themselves into word form — that’s happened in those three years. I’m for ever drawing from what I’ve learnt then.

Lucy Cavendish then was an all-female college for mature women, that means, aged 21 upwards. I myself was 21 when I arrived, but I studied with women of any age, in their 40s, or 60s, or older. Women who had had children, previous careers, or who just loved learning and continued to do so at any stage of their lives, as indeed we all should do. I came from a strong all-girls household, and entered a strong all-female environment where anything was possible, no matter what age or personal background. My horizon expanded from one day to the next, and I knew I, too, was capable. 

I continued at Lucy to do a Master’s in Renaissance Literature where I acquired the research skills for the PhD. Between 2013 and 2016, I spent three happy challenging years at the University of St Andrews in Scotland not meeting my own royal prince, but exploring the poetry and song of sixteenth-century Britain. 


During my last PhD year, the perfect job for me came up: working on early German versions of Shakespeare’s plays. I got lucky, and moved to Geneva in Switzerland for two years (2016-18). I edited and translated into English a seventeenth-century adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew. Click here for more information about the project. 

Between 2019 and 2022, I worked on my own postdoctal project on parentheses in Renaissance literature as a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Sheffield in England. 

I’ve spoken at countless conferences across the globe, have given workshops and classes on literature and language for adults and school children, and have taught Bachelor’s and Master’s students at university. I love the solitary focus of writing, and I also love communicating with lerners and readers.


Other people saw me writing before I did: my grandmother, my sister (that same Daisy again!), even the editors and agents that contacted me over the years. Sometimes it takes others to show us what we want and who we are. Other people – and external circumstance. Like for many people, the pandemic catalysed decisions that would have taken me years to take on my own. I realised that, rather than publish footnoted academic articles for a small number of people who may or may not ever read them, my true passion and calling was to write literary non-fiction for a public audience.

Even as a scholar, my writing has been called “fruity”. I take that as a badge of honour! And why should academic writing be boring? Now, I enjoy sitting at the intersection of research and literature, one foot in both camps. I write literary non-fiction, so my work is about “stuff out there” that really exists, but written in an engaging way. 

I’ve been a judge for the Lucy Cavendish College Fiction Prize, and was a BBC New Generation Thinker of 2021-22. Amongst others, my work has appeared in Time online, Aeon, and on the BBC.                                    

my passions


Dots, dashes, colons, question marks, space between words, paragraph lines, indentations, asterisks, hashtags, and yes also emoji: all those are part of punctuation. To me, at least, and I’m endlessly fascinated by how much impact a tiny particle of text can have on the meaning and feeling of the whole.


I learnt about Renaissance literature in the first year at university – and was immediately hooked! Shakespeare’s time feels close to me since people were facing similarly profound changes as we do, the printing press, for example, the early modern internet.​


Iran has always played a big role while I was growing up. As an adult, I’m the proud owner of several carpets, both family heirlooms & souvenirs from my own journeys. Patterns, colours, threads…past & present weaving into one another.​

who i am

This is A Very Good Boy.

I read, write, and teach. 

I’m a dog-mum and hobby-gardener with moderate success. I like to let nature do its thing, and call my approach “organic gardening”. My neighbours would disagree…

I can do most yoga-bird-poses such as bird-of-paradise, eagle, crow, king-pidgeon, but don’t manage to stand on my head. 

I’ve never been bored in my life. No rest for the wicked! Although a dear colleague in Geneva called me “not wicked, only slightly naughty”. 

Other than naughty, I’ve been called a dreamer, a unicorn, an elusive fish, and mad but adorable (twice!).

I care about literature, and I also care about the how people treat the earth, their stories, each other. 

I value conversation, not so much of the argumentative kind but when it’s generous and explorative.

I have core values, but I also like to change my mind. What is true is mine.


Oh, and my favourite word is orchid.

No idea why. I just like it.

Core values that I believe in


Everyone has a story. Everyone has a “why”. I’m trying to look beyond the sound & fury to what’s motivating people. What’s moving them.


In research, questions must guide the inquiry. And so, ideally, it is in writing, and in life. It’s never what we expect, so less assuming, more asking!


It’s easy to divide. It’s easy to push buttons. I’m not interested in easy. I like exploring commonalities, seeming paradoxes, what we share.


In a culture of abundance of things, the real value lies in time. It takes stamina to stop & attend, giving oneself & receiving the other, be it a person or a project. It takes love.

My mission is to stop and attend to all the big and small things we often overlook in our busy lives, and to invite us to see: again, in a new way, or for the very first time.



Get in touch today for questions and comments about my work.