Born and brought up in Sidcup, SE London (or NW Kent), I was the first in my family to go to university. First time round I dropped out, because I went to the wrong place & for the wrong reasons. Second time round, doing English, in a city I loved, saw the slow beginning of a love affair with Romantic poetry and working-class literature, which I am still surprised has turned into a grown-up career with money and long trousers. I edit an academic journal on a poet, have edited and written books and essays, and I sometimes review contemporary fiction for the Independent. I work in Oxford.