I’m Keith Houston. By day I write medical imaging software but by night I ride my bike, look after my son, and write about punctuation. You can say hi on Facebook, Twitter, Mastodon or Goodreads, or get in touch via the Contact page.
As I write in the Introduction, Shady Characters is all about the stories behind different marks of punctuation. I started writing on this subject back in 2008 at the suggestion of a friend and over the course of the next two years I finished rough essays on a variety of different marks; this site is here to let me polish things up and publish those essays to a wider audience. Also, and perhaps most importantly, it’s a way of giving something back to all the people who helped me unpick some obscure point of punctuation history or who pointed me in the right direction when it seemed I’d hit a dead end.
Please note that I’m a complete amateur in the worlds of punctuation and typography; although I’ve done my best to verify everything here through references to other works, there are almost certainly errors and omissions that a professional would not have made. I’d encourage you to take a look through the Further Reading and the references which accompany each entry to get the whole story.
Thanks for taking the time to read this, and I hope you enjoy your visit!