Marion Turner is the J.R.R. Tolkien Professor of English Literature and Language at the University of Oxford, and a Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall. She specialises in medieval literature and life-writing, with a particular focus on Chaucer. Her latest book – THE WIFE OF BATH: A Biography – came out in January 2023 with Princeton University Press. In it, she tells the story of many medieval women, arguing that the Wife of Bath is the first ordinary woman in English literature – and tracing her story across time, from Voltaire to Zadie Smith. Her previous book – Chaucer: A European Life – is a major biography of the great medieval poet, published by Princeton University Press in 2019. Turner argues that Chaucer’s life and work were profoundly international, presenting him as an extraordinary European poet, whose experiences were embedded in multicultural and global contexts. CHAUCER: A European Life was chosen as a book of the year 2019 in The Times, The Sunday Times, and the TLS. In 2020, it won the British Academy Rose Mary Crawshay Prize, the English Association Beatrice White Prize, and the Medieval Institute’s Otto Grundler Prize, was shortlisted for the Wolfson History Prize, and was longlisted for the Historical Writers Association Non-Fiction Crown, among many other accolades.
Her other books include CHAUCERIAN CONFLICT (Oxford University Press, 2007) and A HANDBOOK OF MIDDLE ENGLISH STUDIES (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013). She publishes widely in books and journals and is interested in life-writing, the medical humanities, and the history of gender as well as medieval literature and history more generally.
Marion has appeared on Radio 4’s Front Row, Start the Week, Women’s Hour, and the Today Programme, Radio 3’s Free Thinking, and many other programmes around the world, including in the USA, Australia, and Ireland. She has also appeared on a number of TV shows for the BBC, Channel 4, and the Discovery Channel. She also frequently gives public lectures and talks at literary festivals, schools, libraries, museums, and literary societies. Marion is passionate about opening up access to medieval literature and breaking down perceived barriers to reading and engaging with these wonderful texts.