I received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Georgia in 1998. After working on local newspapers and small magazines, I joined the Guardian from 2000 to 2006, working in a variety of editing roles, including deputy letters editor, before going freelance. I have continued to contribute to the Guardian and its sister paper the Observer, and my work has appeared in other media outlets, including BBC Radio 4 and Vox.

• I reviewed Sudhir Hazareesingh’s ‘Black Spartacus: The Epic Life of Toussaint Louverture’ for Prospect magazine (UK).

• Here is a recent piece on the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower crossing, written for the Observer (UK).

• I was in Cuba in December 2019, and found the mood dramatically transformed since the thawing of relations that I saw on a trip there in 2014. Read about Cuba’s troubled 2019 here. You can read a travel piece about Havana’s Spanish past that I wrote for Timeless Travels magazine here. Since that trip, I have reviewed Ada Ferrer’s Cuba: An American History, a comprehensive history of the island, and  Will Grant’s ¡Populista!, which covers the Castro era and that of five other key Latin American leaders in recent times.

• I wrote a piece for the Daily Beast about the border wall and how it is obscuring the long, complicated history between the United States and Mexico. Read here (paywall). On a related theme, I contributed an essay to Tomas Van Houtryve’s Lines and Lineage.

• I reviewed Jorge Castañeda’s America Through Foreign Eyes for the Guardian, where I also wrote about Marie Arana’s Silver, Sword and Stone: Three Crucibles of the Latin American Story. In Literary Review (paywall), I discuss Sarah Rainsford’s Our Woman in Havana: Reporting Castro’s Cuba.

• This piece I wrote for Vox, in the aftermath of hurricane Maria, examines the historical roots of the complex relationship between the U.S. and Puerto Rico. I also spoke about this history on KCSB in Santa Barbara. You can listen here.


In La Frontera, for BBC Radio 4, I go to Arizona to find out what the impact of a border wall with Mexico would be.

Here’s a related piece I did for the Observer.

border fence
The border fence around Naco, Arizona

You can read more of my print and online journalism for the Guardian and Observer by following this link.

Elsewhere in the US, I wrote a travel piece about Montgomery, Alabama, for Timeless Travels magazine, which you can read here. And I discuss the history of the US holiday of Columbus Day for the Daily Beast here.

Vieques, Puerto Rico 2008
The beach at Vieques, Puerto Rico

Turning to the Caribbean, I review a book by Orlando Patterson about Jamaica for the New York Times. And in the Guardian I discuss a memoir by Ross Kenneth Urken about his Jamaican nanny.

You can hear my thoughts on the idea of paradise for BBC Radio 4 or read about them in this piece for the BBC website.

Finally, I discuss Cuba, the wider Caribbean, and cricket on WNYC’s The Takeaway, and I talk to the New York Times about the best way to travel around the Caribbean.