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Julia Cresswell

Julia Cresswell


Julia Cresswell splits her time between teaching and writing. After studying English (specialising in Medieval Literature and the history of English) at St Hugh’s College Oxford, she financed two post-graduate degrees at the University of Reading by working as a free-lance historical researcher for Oxford Dictionaries, as well as teaching Old English, Middle English and the history of English at some of the Oxford Colleges, and these and other courses for Stanford University and other American colleges which have study abroad programs in Oxford. After gaining her Doctorate, she continued in much the same line. She has worked on various large reference works, including the Oxford Dictionary of Modern Quotations, The Bloomsbury Dictionary of English and two editions of Brewer’s Dictionary of Phase and Fable. She has written a number of books on her own, mostly on aspects of the English language, particularly onomastics (names), but also on areas where language and culture intersect. She has 18 titles to her name, the most recent of which is Legendary Beasts of Britain (Shire 2013), and will be writing another book on word histories for OUP in 2014.

She finds it difficult to make a distinction between work and leisure interests, as she has a bad habit of turning hobbies into books, but when not reading, teaching or writing she enjoys gardening (particularly growing vegetables), cooking and eating good food (she and her husband are involved in running the local Farmers’ Market), and since she first learnt to read has been addicted to print of almost any form.

She looks forward to the Oxford Experience each year, both to the stimulation of the teaching and the pleasure of seeing old friends there again. 2016 will be her 14th year teaching there.

Her website is at





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