Dr Diarmuid Hester is a radical cultural historian, writer, and activist based in Cambridge, England.
Diarmuid grew up in County Kilkenny, Ireland. He studied English and French at University College Dublin, before coming to the UK to study for Master’s degrees in English (University of Sussex) and philosophy (CRMEP). He received his PhD in English literature from the University of Sussex. Diarmuid has held research fellowships at New York University, the Library of Congress, the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, and the British Library. He teaches at the Faculty of English, University of Cambridge, and is a research associate of Emmanuel College.
A confident and experienced public speaker, Diarmuid has appeared on podcasts, radio, and TV, and at summer festivals like Wilderness and Irregular Folk. He is the creator of Prick Up Your Ears, immersive podcasts and audio trails that uncover the little-known cultural histories of places like Cambridge, Rye, and Dungeness. He is also the co-founder of Club Urania, a monthly performance and music night for LGBTQ+ people and allies developed in partnership with Cambridge Junction and Wysing Arts Centre. In 2020, Diarmuid was named a BBC New Generation Thinker, and he regularly contributes to BBC Radio 3.
Wrong: A Critical Biography of Dennis Cooper is Diarmuid’s first book, published by the University of Iowa Press in 2020. It is the definitive account of a writer once called ‘the last literary outlaw in mainstream American fiction’. Diarmuid's second book, Nothing Ever Just Disappears: Seven Hidden Histories, follows queer artists and writers whose lives and work are inextricable from a sense of place. It is published in the UK by Allen Lane/Penguin and will be published in North America by Pegasus Press in 2024.
Diarmuid is a radical cultural historian in both senses of the term. His work investigates art and culture underpinned by radical politics but he is also interested in how cultural history can itself enact radical change. By uncovering marginalised stories. By connecting details that have previously been kept apart. By creating counter-narratives that imagine the past differently and shift our perceptions of what's possible in the present.