There's a scene in the movie Annie Hall, where Diane Keaton asks Woody Allen what she should study in university.
He replies - "Just don't take any course where they make you read Beowulf."
Andrew Orchard not only read Beowulf, he built his career on his enthusiasm, passion even, for Old English literature. Though he is willing to admit he hated that epic poem on the first read, he has since read it many, many times. He has even written two books on the subject of Beowulf alone.
In addition to being one of the world's leading experts in Old English, Norse and Celtic literature, Andy Orchard also spent just under a decade as a mountain guide in Iceland.
He has had a long and distinguished career as an academic, teacher and administrator -
Originally from London, England, Dr. Orchard studied at Oxford, then received his PhD from Cambridge. He taught Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic at the University of Cambridge and eventually became head of the department. In 1998, he was awarded a Pilkington Prize for excellence in teaching at Cabridge.
A few years later, he moved to Canada, where he became a professor of English and Medieval Studies at the the University of Toronto, and later, head of the department.
In 2007, Dr. Orchard became Trinity College's 14th Provost and Vice Chancellor. He has now decided to leave that post, for the only job that he says could ever pull him away from Trinity.
He has been elected as Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo Saxon in the University of Oxford. The Rawlinson and Bosworth chair was established in 1795, making it the oldest in the field and also the most prestigious. The position was once held by Lord of the Rings author J. R. R. Tolkien.