Professor Fiona Stafford

Professor of English Language and Literature; Fellow of Somerville College; Academic Lead for the Environmental Humanities programme at TORCH


Professor Stafford is a Fellow of the British Academy and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. She works on literature of the Romantic period, especially Austen, Burns, Clare, Keats, Wordsworth and Coleridge, and on their literary influences on modern poetry. Her research interests also include late 18th and early 19th-century culture; Irish and Scottish literature (post 1700); Archipelagic literature and art; place and nature writing (old and new); trees, flowers and their cultural history; environmental humanities; literature and the visual arts.

Her latest major publications are Time and Tide: The Long, Long Life of Landscape (John Murray, 2024), which has been widely reviewed and featured at literary festivals and events including the Hay Festival, and a selection of Byron's works, Byron's Travels (Everyman, 2024). 

Other books includes The Brief Life of Flowers (2018).  Like her acclaimed book, The Long, Long Life of Trees (2016), it draws on first hand observation, literature, art, folklore, mythology, cultural history, natural science, botany, history of medicine.

Recently, Professor Stafford was a speaker at the Trinity Byron Festival in Cambridge (April 2024), helped create the new Literary Garden at the Oxford Botanic Garden alongside the director, Professor Simon Hiscock, and the designer Pia Ostlund, and worked on a creative collaboration with Calum Colvin at the Scottish Portrait Gallery: Lord Byron Bicentenary Concert with Calum Colvin — Luath Press.

She has also worked with Wordsworth Grasmere, providing a video talk about Wordsworth and readings for the new Museum at Dove Cottage; with the Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (Ledbury Festival 2022); with the Blenheim Estate (Autumn Festival 2022); with the Oxford Botanic Garden (Winter Lecture 5: March 2020); The Hayward Gallery (Among the Trees, March 2020).   

Professor Stafford's project, The Dimlight Hours (2019), is a play based on her essay Home Front and inspired by a family wartime diary and was part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Other recent talks include:
Online Talk: Fiona Stafford, Spring Flowers and their Stories (Chawton House, 2022)
10-Minute Talks: Keeping a diary in 1941 (The British Academy, 2021)
In Conversation with Katie Mitchell, Professor Fiona Stafford and Dr Catherine Love (TORCH | The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities, 2021)
RFS Book Club with Fiona Stafford (Royal Forestry Society, 2021)


  • English literature
  • Scottish and Irish literature, especially poetry
  • The novel, especially Jane Austen
  • Literature and the visual arts
  • National and regional identity in literature
  • Nature Writing
  • Environmental Humanities

Media experience

Professor Stafford has considerable experience of working with media and is a regular contributor to BBC Radio. She has presented a series for BBC Radio 3 on the symbolism, importance and meaning of trees, flowers and beaches and for coverage of BBC Proms 2022. She has also contributed to the literary magazine, Archipelago.