Leslie Cannold

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Leslie Cannold

Leslie Cannold (born 1 April 1970 in Port Chester, NY) is an author, academic ethicist, columnist, activist, and Australian public intellectual.

Born and raised in Armonk and Scarsdale, New York, Leslie Cannold migrated to Melbourne in her early twenties.[1] She began writing for The Age as an opinion and education section columnist while raising young children and completing her graduate degrees. She is considered a protégé of one of the most influential modern philosophers, Peter Singer, though she does not share his utilitarian views.[citation needed] A non-fiction author and novelist, Cannold is a familiar voice and face on radio and TV in Australia, discussing ethics, politics, and reproductive rights. In 2005 she was named one of Australia's top twenty public intellectuals by The Age newspaper.[2] In 2011 Cannold was awarded Australian Humanist of the Year by the Council of Australian Humanist Societies.[3]

Education and career[edit]

Educated at Wesleyan University where she studied psychology and theatre, she completed a Masters degree in Bioethics at Monash University and worked at the Centre for Human Bioethics during Peter Singer's tenure there.[citation needed] She earned her PhD in Education at the University of Melbourne before commencing employment at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics when C.A.J. Coady was director.[4] As of 2011 she maintains adjunct positions at both universities though she left academic employment in 2006 to pursue writing full-time.[citation needed]

Books and columns[edit]

Cannold's fortnightly Moral Dilemma column[5] has appeared in Sydney's Sunday Sun-Herald since 2007. Prior to that she was an occasional columnist for The Age. Her opinions have also appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald, Crikey!, The Herald Sun, ABC The Drum Unleashed, The Courier Mail, and the national broadsheet The Australian. In 2011 she was recognised with an EVA for a Sunday Age opinion piece on sexual assault.[6]

Her books include the award-winning[7] The Abortion Myth: Feminism morality and the hard choices women make[8][9] and What, No Baby?: Why women are losing the freedom to mother and how they can get it back,[10] which made the Australian Financial Review's top 101 books list.[1] Her first work of fiction, The Book of Rachael,[11] a historical novel, was published 2011. She publishes on diverse subject areas including grief, circumcision, HIV/AIDS, genetic manipulation, ex utero gestation and regulating Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ARTs). She published chapters in Sperm Wars[12] (2005) and The Australian Book of Atheism (2010).[13]

Radio and television work[edit]

Leslie Cannold's radio and TV appearances include ABC Radio National, triple j, Today Tonight, The 7:30 Report, A Current Affair, The Catch-Up, The Einstein Factor, SBS Insight, 9am with David & Kim, The Circle, Today, and Lateline. For many years she talked life, work and ethics with well-known radio and TV broadcater Virginia Trioli on 774 ABC Melbourne and now appears regularly on Radio 4BC and Deborah Cameron's morning show on 702 ABC Sydney. She is a regular panellist on ABC TV's political talk show Q & A[1] and is the resident ethicist for Network Ten's The 7pm Project.


Cannold is past President of Reproductive Choice Australia, a national coalition of pro-choice organisations that played a key role in removing the ban on the abortion drug RU486 in 2006 and of Pro Choice Victoria, which was instrumental in the decriminalisation of abortion in Victoria in 2008. She is a Dying with Dignity ambassador for law reform.[14] In 2011 she co-founded the not-for-profit speaker referral site No Chicks No Excuses.[15]

Her candidacy for the Australian Senate on the list of The Wikileaks Party was announced on 25 July 2013.[16] She resigned her candidacy on 21 August 2013 because of concerns that the Party's democratic structure was being bypassed.[17]

Personal life[edit]

Cannold identifies herself as a secular Jew.[18] She has two sons with Adam Clarke. The couple separated in 2013.[19]


  1. ^ a b c ABC: "Panellist: Dr. Leslie Cannold", retrieved 27 July 2013
  2. ^ "Brain Power". The Age (Melbourne: Fairfax Media). 18 April 2005. Retrieved 7 April 2011. 
  3. ^ Media Release, Council of Australian Humanist Societies, 16 March 2011
  4. ^ "Leslie Cannold". 
  5. ^ "Leslie Cannold – National Times". Retrieved 7 April 2011. 
  6. ^ "The EVA Media Awards". Retrieved 15 June 2011. 
  7. ^ "Award Winning Wesleyan Books". [dead link]
  8. ^ Cannold, Leslie (1998). The Abortion Myth: Feminism morality and the hard choices women make. St. Leonards, N.S.W: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86448-522-1. 
  9. ^ Cannold, Leslie (2000). The Abortion Myth: Feminism morality and the hard choices women make. Hanover, N.S.W: University Press of England. ISBN 0-8195-6377-3. 
  10. ^ Cannold, Leslie (2005). What, no baby? : why women are losing the freedom to mother, and how they can get it back. Fremantle, W.A: Fremantle Arts Centre Press in partnership with Curtin University of Technology. ISBN 1-920731-88-1. 
  11. ^ Cannold, Leslie (2011). The Book of Rachael. Melbourne, VIC: Text Publishing Company. ISBN 978-1-921758-08-9. 
  12. ^ Cannold, Leslie (2005). "'Walking wallets and one-stop sperm shops': How men fear that women see them in the postmodern reproductive age". In Jones, Heather-Grace. & Kirkman, Maggie. Sperm wars : the rights and wrongs of reproduction. Sydney: ABC Books for the ABC Broadcasting Corporation. ISBN 0-7333-1542-9. 
  13. ^ "The Australian Book of Atheism". 
  14. ^ http://www.dwdv.org.au/LGOWI/LGOWI_Ambassadors.asp
  15. ^ "No Chicks, No Excuses". Radio Adelaide (Adelaide). 16 February 2011. 
  16. ^ "Julian Assange launches WikiLeaks Party via videolink from London", in Sydney Morning Herald, 25 July 2013
  17. ^ http://blogs.crikey.com.au/thestump/files/2013/08/resignation.pdf
  18. ^ Cannold, Leslie. "The First Cut". Cannold.com. Retrieved 7 April 2011. 
  19. ^ Sullivan, Jane (2 April 2011). "Resurrecting the lost sister". The Age. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 7 April 2011. 

External links[edit]