Matthew Kilburn

Matthew Kilburn - Editor

Oxford, UK

Creative editor, writer and historian who can help develop and proof non-fiction and fiction across periods and places.

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I'm a very experienced and highly skilled content editor and researcher with a background in major academic and academic-related projects in history and literature, highly capable in many areas of non-fiction and fiction.

My 'home' historical period is eighteenth-century Britain, where I wrote a thesis on the eighteenth-century royal family; but I can assimilate quickly to other periods and subject areas, spot inconsistencies in arguments or weaknesses in research, and help fill them.

I have collaborated closely with writers on academic projects as well as being brought in by other editors to revive writers' work. I've collaborated on one children's non-fiction project and am interested in branching out into fiction, especially where the author is concerned about historical accuracy.

I'm North-East England born and bred, Oxford-educated (to doctoral level).

My editorial roles have usually faced several ways, combining editing other people with substantial amounts of writing myself. Staff roles on the frontiers of academic research and reference publishing have included research editing for both the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and the History of Parliament, which covers development editing and proofreading with colleagues and external contibutors. I've also proofread for several doctoral students.

I've also freelanced for Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and Oxford English Dictionary. I'm an entertainment and literary researcher and writer, and have contributed to Doctor Who Magazine and associated titles. Other publications include articles in reference books and anthologies on history and television and a book in the Black Archive series of Doctor Who monographs.

English (UK)
Biographies & Memoirs
Education & Reference
Political Science & Current Affairs
Historical Fiction
Time Travel


  • BA in History from University of Oxford
  • DPhil in History from University of Oxford


  • Associate Member, History Faculty, University of Oxford

Work experience

Contributing Editor

Victoria County History of Wiltshire
May, 2018 – February, 2020 (almost 2 years)

Wrote and researched history of parliamentary representation and local government of the borough of Chippenham, Wiltshire, using sources at Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre, Chippenham. My work is incorporated into one of the draft texts found at the Wiltshire Victoria County History website.


December, 2015 – Present (almost 6 years)

Freelance editor, researcher and writer

Principally for Oxford English Dictionary as library research associate, compiling reports on words as found in published historical sources from the sixteenth to the twenty-first centuries, working to in-house editors

Continued association with Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, working especially on amendments to existing articles including new text for published entries

Writer for Doctor Who Magazine and associated titles published by Panini UK Ltd. Image of one article ('Classic Rock') in gallery.

Research Assistant, House of Lords 1660-1715

History of Parliament
January, 2014 – November, 2015 (almost 2 years)

Wrote, revised and researched sections of The House of Lords 1660-1715 (5 vols, Cambridge UP/History of Parliament Trust, 2016), including biographies and historical surveys, taking over workload of departed research fellow.

Freelance editorial associate and research consultant, The History of Oxford University Press

Oxford University Press
February, 2010 – September, 2013 (over 3 years)

Writing three chapters for The History of Oxford University Press, volume one, to 1780, ed. Ian Gadd (Oxford, 2013); writing and editing appendices, checking facts, correcting picture identifications and undertaking documentary research for The History of Oxford University Press volume one, to 1780, edited by Ian Gadd, and volume two, 1780-1900, edited by Simon Eliot, both published by Oxford University Press in November 2013

Associate Research Editor

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
October, 2006 – Present (almost 15 years)

Ongoing role as consultant editor working on amendments to existing articles, often where the original author was deceased, as well as editing new entries supporting the remaining in-house staff.

Development aspects included revising texts in collaboration or consultation with authors, across all historical periods.

I also wrote new entries for the dictionary including on Sir Charles Monck (1779-1867), the Northumberland landowner, architect and MP who owned Belsay Castle, pictured in my background image above.

Freelance editor, writer and researcher

October, 2006 – December, 2013 (about 7 years)

Independent research editor on several academic projects including two titles listed below under books - Abigail Williams's edition of Jonathan Swift's Journal to Stella (where I drafted the biographical appendices and part of the political commentary) and Wilfrid Prest's biography of William Blackstone (where I checked several items of correspondence and legal texts in Oxford and London for Professor Prest, who was based in Australia).

I've also worked with several postgraduate students on tidying up their writing as they complete their theses, both in terms of language and research questions. Potential non sequiturs and gaps in knowledge as well as misleading content can be highlighted and addressed.

Research Editor

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
October, 1999 – September, 2006 (almost 7 years)

Commissioned, edited and wrote articles designed for print and online publication, principally in the eighteenth century but also in periods from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries
Liaised with external advisers recruited from senior academics from universities worldwide
Advised and reassured contributors throughout the research process
Acted as intermediary between contributors and external peer reviewers
First point of contact for publishing staff of project with queries about content of articles in my area of responsibility, before passing them to the contributor if necessary
Retained as part of the research team at two ‘downsizing’ points, October 2002 and October 2003, to become part of the publication team responsible for launching the dictionary in print and online in September 2004
Wrote marketing copy in the run-up to publication in 2004
Co-ordinated the corrections process following publication, and corresponded with members of the public who queried entries in the 2004 edition
Represented the dictionary to the media and the public in interviews and events during the launch programme, around the British Isles at and immediately after publication

Portfolio (9 selected works)

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Matthew, Colin, Harrison, Brian

The History of Oxford University Press: Three-volume set

Gadd, Ian, Eliot, Simon, Louis, W. Roger

Matthew has 1 review

Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

Richard Silver
Matthew went through my whole book with a fine tooth comb, I was extremely impressed with the high quality of his work. He went deeper into my photo book then I expected and would recommend him to anyone. Great job.

Richard Silver, February 2021

Matthew Kilburn
Thank you very much indeed, Richard. I am most grateful.

Reply from Matthew Kilburn

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