Laurie Penny

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Lauire Penny
Laurie Penny (born 1986) is a columnist, blogger and author who writes for the New Statesman. She has a feminist and left wing perspective: "Socialism without feminism, after all, is no socialism worth having".[1]

Early life and education

Penny was born in London and grew up in Brighton.[2][3] She is of Irish, Jewish, and Maltese descent.[4][5][6] She attended the independent school Brighton College.[2] She has written about her hospitalisation at age 17 for anorexia and subsequent recovery.[7]

She studied English at Wadham College, Oxford.[8] Whilst a student she joined and performed in a burlesque troupe,[9] was a committee member[10] and appeared in amateur dramatic productions with the Oxford University Light Entertainment Society.[9]


Penny's blog, "Penny Red", was launched in 2007[11] and was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize in 2010.[12] (The name "Penny Red" refers to a Victorian stamp.) She began her career as a staff writer at One in Four magazine and then worked as a reporter and sub-editor for the socialist newspaper Morning Star. She has written columns and features for several publications,[13] and is a columnist for the New Statesman[14] and regular contributor to The Guardian.[15]

Penny is the author of Meat Market: Female Flesh Under Capitalism (Zero Books, 2011).[3] In it she mounts an attack on liberal feminism, which she characterises as embracing the consumer choice offered by capitalism as the path to female emancipation.[16]

In April 2011, Penny presented the Channel 4 Dispatches programme "Cashing In on Degrees", and appeared on the same channel's satirical current affairs programme 10 O'Clock Live.[17] and BBC Two's Newsnight.

Penny was selected by Truthdig as "Truthdigger of the Week" for the week of 25 November 2011.[18] In 2012, Tatler magazine described her as one of top 100 'people who matter'.[19]

On 26 March 2012, Penny announced via her Twitter account that she was leaving the Statesman to take up a full-time post at The Independent as a reporter and columnist.[20]

In June 2012, she clashed with historian David Starkey at the Sunday Times Festival of Education which took place at Wellington College, Berkshire,[21] accusing him of being a racist "playing xenophobia for laughs" in his statements about the Rochdale "grooming" case.

In October 2012 it was announced that she was leaving The Independent to rejoin the New Statesman (in November) as a columnist and contributing editor.[22] In the same month, The Daily Telegraph ranked Penny as the 55th most influential left winger in Britain, reporting that she is "without doubt the loudest and most controversial female voice on the radical left."[23]

She was listed as a "National Treasure" in the Pink List 2011.[24]

In 2012 she was shortlisted for the Bread and Roses Award.[25]


Based on a Wikipedia article.

  1. Laurie Penny "The SWP and rape: why I care about this Marxist-Leninist implosion", The Guardian, 12 March 2013
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Shut up, little girl, don't you know grown-ups are talking?" Laurie Penny – via Penny Red blogspot 16 November 2009
  3. 3.0 3.1 Laurie Penny author profile at Zero Books
  4. "Zionism, chauvinism and the nature of rape" Laurie Penny 12 September 2010 New Statesman
  5. "Julie Burchill’s imperialist froth over Israel Laurie Penny 13 February 2011 New Statesman
  6. Twitter Laurie Penny 19 June 2013
  7. "Life tastes better than skinny feels" Evening Standard – Laurie Penny 24 February 2010
  8. "The jobless are no shirking scroungers - you try living on £65.45 a week" David Conn 30 April 2010 The Guardian
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Burlesque laid bare" Laurie Penny – via The Guardian date=15 May 2009
  10. "Previous committees – 2006 social secretary (Wadham)"Oxford Light entertainment society
  11. "We have achieved preambulation. Bring me a sweetie-bag of amphetamines and the head of Margaret Thatcher" Laurie Penny – via Penny Red blogspot 23 September 2007
  12. "Laurie Penny – Student Media Awards judge" The Guardian 11 March 2011
  13. Home page on "Penny Red" Laurie Penny – via Penny Red blogspot
  14. "Pop culture and radical politics with a feminist twist" Laurie Penny blog at the New Statesman online
  15. "Laurie Penny profile at The Guardian online" 7 August 2009
  16. "Chocolate, Snuggles, and Straight Hair", review of Meat Market Oxonian Review
  17. "10 O'Clock Live Episode 11 guest listing at Channel 4 online" 31 March 2011
  18. Truthdigger of the Week: Laurie Penny
  19. Tatler
  20. Laurie Penny "Laurie Penny (@PennyRed)", twitlonger, 26 March 2012
  21. "Videos show Laurie Penny and 'dinosaur' Starkey in full rant", The Week, 25 June 2012
  22. "Laurie Penny rejoins the New Statesman", New Statesman (The Staggers blog), 10 October 2012
  23. "Top 100 most influential figures from the Left 2012" The Daily Telegraph 3 October 2012
  24. Pink List 2011
  25. Alison Flood, "New prize for radical writing announces shortlist" 6 March 2012