Emily read Modern and Medieval Languages at St Catharine's College, Cambridge, and remained there as a graduate student, completing a PhD on literary and cinematic responses to human rights abuse. She went on to become a Junior Research Fellow at Queens' College, and a Lecturer in French at Royal Holloway, University of London. She spent three years working in the charity sector, initially as an emergency translator and consultant to French humanitarian aid agencies, and subsequently as senior strategist for Teach First. She returned to Cambridge in 2013 to take up the post of Admissions Director at Lucy Cavendish College, moving to Christ's in 2016. She has published on French, Latin American and North African literature and film, and critical theory.