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Dr Jonathan Padley 

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Fellow Type

Lecturers, Professors and College Officers,

Jonathan Padley is a specialist in English children’s literature from the eighteenth century to the present day. His work explores margins, particularly the marginalisation of authors, texts, and characters. His PhD argued that the child protagonists of children’s literature can be understood, etymologically and theoretically, as monsters. He serves on the Editorial Board of Children’s Literature in Education.

As well as children’s literature, Jonathan is interested in interdisciplinary dialogues between literature, media, music, science, and theology. He has published broadly, including on transgressive creation in Shelley’s Frankenstein, bibliographical anomaly in Tennyson’s English Idyls, and Christological imaging in Tolkien’s Middle-earth mythos.

Jonathan is Churchill’s Lead Admissions Tutor, so responsible for undergraduate admissions and recruitment to the College. He is also a College Tutor; Director of Studies in Education at Lucy Cavendish, Newnham, and St Edmund’s; an Affiliated Lecturer at the Faculty of Education; and an Honorary Member of the Faculty of English. He teaches and examines undergraduates and postgraduates in children’s literature, and he mentors several postgraduate educationalists. Jonathan is Chair of the University’s Schools Liaison Officers’ Group, a Trustee of the Chapel at Churchill College, and a member of numerous College and University committees. From 2020 to 2021, he was the Admissions Forum representative to the University’s Strategic Review of Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach. In December 2021, he was elected to the Churchill College Council.

Alongside academic work, Jonathan is committed to widening participation in higher education. From 2013 to 2015, he was seconded to Welsh Government to co-lead the research and policy implementation which gave rise to Seren, to which he still regularly contributes.

Before taking up his current roles in Cambridge, Jonathan was variously an Honorary Research Associate of the Department of English Language and Literature at Swansea University, and a Lecturer and Tutor at Gorseinon College and Coleg Sir Gâr.

Faculty of Education


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College Positions


01 October 2018 – Present

Fellow and Lead Admissions Tutor

01 December 2017 – Present

Admissions Tutor for Arts

01 October 2015 – 30 September 2016

Widening Participation Officer

01 August 2012 – 30 November 2017

Schools Liaison and Recruitment Officer

01 September 2011 – 31 July 2012