Laurie Penny

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Laurie Penny
Laurie Penny 2013 (8735769116).jpg
Penny in 2013.
Born(1986-09-28) 28 September 1986 (age 27)
Islington, London
OccupationColumnist, blogger, author
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Laurie Penny
Laurie Penny 2013 (8735769116).jpg
Penny in 2013.
Born(1986-09-28) 28 September 1986 (age 27)
Islington, London
OccupationColumnist, blogger, author

Laurie Penny (born 28 September 1986) is a British columnist, blogger and author who is a contributing editor at New Statesman and also writes for The Guardian. She has a feminist and left-wing perspective.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Penny was born in Islington 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, graduating in 2008 with a 2:1.[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] She then completed her NCTJ journalism training certificate in London.[citation needed]


Penny's blog, "Penny Red", was launched in 2007[11] and was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize in 2010.[12] 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) and Penny Red: Notes from a New Age of Dissent (Pluto Press, 2011).[3] In Meat Market 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] Penny Red was shortlisted for the inaugural Bread and Roses Award for Radical Publishing in 2012.

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 newspaper 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, accusing him of being a racist "playing xenophobia for laughs" in his statements about the Rochdale 'grooming' case.[21] Starkey in response accused her of wanting excessive fees for an event arranged by The Thomas Paine Society which led to it not taking place. She responded by stating that she asked for the fee as a way to back out of the event, and avoid having to debate with Starkey.[21]

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]



  1. ^ Penny, Laurie "The SWP and rape: why I care about this Marxist-Leninist implosion", The Guardian, 12 March 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Shut up, little girl, don't you know grown-ups are talking?". Laurie Penny – via Penny Red blogspot. 16 November 2009. Retrieved 13 April 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "Laurie Penny author profile at Zero Books". Zero books. Retrieved 13 April 2011. 
  4. ^ Penny, Laurie (12 September 2010). "Zionism, chauvinism and the nature of rape". New Statesman. Retrieved 16 May 2013. 
  5. ^ Penny, Laurie (13 February 2011). "Julie Burchill’s imperialist froth over Israel". New Statesman. Retrieved 16 May 2013. 
  6. ^ Penny, Laurie (19 June 2013). "Twitter". 
  7. ^ "Life tastes better than skinny feels". London Evening Standard – Laurie Penny. 24 February 2010. Retrieved 13 April 2011. 
  8. ^ Conn, David (30 April 2010). "The jobless are no shirking scroungers - you try living on £65.45 a week". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 July 2013. 
  9. ^ a b "Burlesque laid bare". London: Laurie Penny – via The Guardian. 15 May 2009. Retrieved 16 April 2011. 
  10. ^ "Previous committees – 2006 social secretary (Wadham)". Oxford Light entertainment society. Retrieved 16 April 2011. 
  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. Retrieved 13 April 2011. 
  12. ^ "Laurie Penny – Student Media Awards judge". The Guardian (London). 11 March 2011. Retrieved 13 April 2011. 
  13. ^ "Home page on "Penny Red"". Laurie Penny – via Penny Red blogspot. Retrieved 13 April 2011. 
  14. ^ "Pop culture and radical politics with a feminist twist". Laurie Penny blog at the New Statesman online. Retrieved 13 April 2011. 
  15. ^ "Laurie Penny profile at The Guardian online". The Guardian (London). 7 August 2009. Retrieved 13 April 2011. 
  16. ^ "Chocolate, Snuggles, and Straight Hair, review of Meat Market". Oxonian Review. Retrieved 4 June 2011. 
  17. ^ "10 O'Clock Live Episode 11 guest listing at Channel 4 online". Channel 4. 31 March 2011. Retrieved 13 April 2011. 
  18. ^ Truthdigger of the Week: Laurie Penny – Truthdigger of the Week – Truthdig
  19. ^ Tatler
  20. ^ Penny, Laurie "Laurie Penny (@PennyRed)", twitlonger, 26 March 2012.
  21. ^ a b "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. Retrieved 9 October 2012. 
  24. ^ Flood, Alison (6 March 2012). "New prize for radical writing announces shortlist". Retrieved 2 May 2012.