Helen Lewis (journalist)

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Helen Lewis
Lewis in 2017
Born (1983-09-30) September 30, 1983 (age 40)
Other namesHelen Lewis-Hasteley
Education[citation needed]
Occupation(s)Journalist, editor
SpouseJonathan Haynes (2015–present)

Helen Alexandra Lewis (born 30 September 1983)[1] is a British journalist and a staff writer at The Atlantic.[2][3] She is a former deputy editor of the New Statesman,[4] and has also written for The Guardian and The Sunday Times.[5]


After graduating Oxford,[6] Lewis gained a post-graduate diploma in newspaper journalism from London's City University.[citation needed] Subsequently, she was accepted on the Daily Mail's programme for trainee sub-editors[citation needed], working in the job for a few years, and later joining the team responsible for commissioning features for the newspaper. She was appointed the Women in the Humanities Honorary Writing Fellow at Oxford University for 2018/2019,[citation needed] and since 2019 is on the steering committee for the Reuters Institute for Journalism at Oxford University,[7] where she delivered a lecture on "The Failures of Political Journalism,"[8] subsequently adapted as a New Statesman cover story.[9]

Lewis was appointed as deputy editor of the New Statesman in May 2012,[10] after becoming assistant editor in 2010.[11] Since July 2019, she has been a staff writer at The Atlantic.[12]

In September 2018, Lewis interviewed Jordan Peterson for GQ,[13][14] in a video which has been viewed over 66 million times.[15]

In November 2019, April 2020, October 2020, April 2021, November 2021, June 2023, and October 2023, and May 2024, Lewis was a panellist on BBC's Have I Got News for You.[16][17][18][19]

Difficult Women[edit]

Lewis's first book Difficult Women: A History of Feminism in 11 Fights, a history of the battles for women's rights, was published by Jonathan Cape on 27 February 2020. Difficult Women was featured in the New Statesman under "Books to Read in 2020", and in the Observer list of "Non-fiction Books to Look Out for in 2020".[20]


In December 2019, Lewis launched her Radio 4 series, The Spark, a longform interview series with each episode dedicated to a single guest (or, in one case, two co-authors).[21][22] The first four series have been collected by Penguin as an audiobook.[23]

In September 2021, the BBC aired her comedy documentary series Great Wives.[24]

In December 2022, Helen Lewis's eight-part podcast called The New Gurus aired on BBC Radio 4.[25] In it, she investigated the popularity and influence of charismatic individuals from Russell Brand to Jordan Peterson.[26][27][28]

Since June 2023, Helen Lewis has been presenting Page 94: The Private Eye Podcast, with Ian Hislop, Andrew Hunter Murray, and Adam Macqueen, which covers current affairs and investigative journalism with a satirical slant.

Views on feminism and transgender issues[edit]

In 2012, Lewis coined what she herself referred to as "Lewis's Law": "the comments on any article about feminism justify feminism".[29] In January 2013, Lewis edited a week of articles dedicated to transgender issues in the New Statesman, featuring articles by transgender and non-binary writers including Juliet Jacques, Jane Fae and Sky Yarlett. In the introduction, she wrote: "For anyone interested in equality, it should be obvious that trans people are subject to harassment simply for the way they express their gender identity."[30]

While supporting transgender people's right to freedom from harassment and abuse,[31] in July 2017, Lewis wrote about her concerns that gender self-identification would make rape shelters unsafe for women and would lead to an increase in sexual assaults in women's changing rooms, writing: "In this climate, who would challenge someone with a beard exposing their penis in a women's changing room?"[32][33]

In response to criticism for those comments, Lewis said "I've had two tedious years of being abused online as a transphobe and a 'TERF' or 'trans-exclusionary radical feminist'—despite my belief that trans women are women, and trans men are men—because I have expressed concerns about self-ID and its impact on single-sex spaces".[34] In November 2020, game developer Ubisoft removed two in-game podcasts from Watch Dogs: Legion that featured Lewis due to the comments.[35][36][37]

Personal life[edit]

Lewis was educated at the private St Mary's School, Worcester,[38] and then studied English at St Peter's College, Oxford.[39]

Lewis married Guardian journalist Jonathan Haynes in 2015. She was previously married in 2010 and divorced her first husband in 2013.[40]


  1. ^ Lewis, Helen (8 April 2020). "What Happens When a Joke Is Followed by Silence". The Atlantic. Retrieved 28 April 2020. And in November, I got my first stab at its BBC Television equivalent, Have I Got News for You (a relative youngster, having broadcast its first program two days before my seventh birthday).
  2. ^ Mayhew, Freddy (29 March 2019). "Helen Lewis leaving New Statesman for staff writer role at Atlantic". Press Gazette. Retrieved 21 September 2021.
  3. ^ Reid, Melanie (11 February 2020). "Difficult Women by Helen Lewis review — the awkward squad v the patriarchy". Press Gazette. Retrieved 16 July 2020.
  4. ^ "Contact Us". New Statesman. Archived 4 April 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 28 July 2022.
  5. ^ "Helen Lewis". The Guardian. Archived 15 February 2017 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 28 July 2022.
  6. ^ Lewis, Helen (2017). "Trying to Burst the Westminster Bubble". Cross Keys: 11–13. Retrieved 20 March 2024.
  7. ^ "Reuters Institute to benefit from new Steering Committee members". Reuters Institute. 12 September 2019. Retrieved 5 January 2023.
  8. ^ "Helen Lewis: The failures of political journalism". Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.
  9. ^ "Why political journalism keeps getting it wrong". 19 June 2019.
  10. ^ 'Media Monkey' "Media Monkey: Warren Buffett, a BSkyB buffet, and Danny Cohen" Archived 27 September 2016 at the Wayback Machine, guardian.co.uk, 27 May 2013
  11. ^ "New appointments and web expansion" Archived 5 June 2013 at the Wayback Machine, newstatesman.com, 16 May 2012
  12. ^ Mayhew, Freddy (29 March 2019). "Helen Lewis leaving New Statesman for staff writer role at Atlantic". Press Gazette. Retrieved 16 July 2020.
  13. ^ Lewis, Helen (15 January 2019). "'There was plenty of motivation to take me out'". GQ. Retrieved 21 September 2021.
  14. ^ Young, Toby (30 October 2018). "At last, a Jordan Peterson vs. feminist debate that isn't an absolute bloodbath'". The Spectator. Retrieved 21 September 2021.
  15. ^ "Jordan Peterson: "There was plenty of motivation to take me out. It just didn't work" British GQ". youtube.com. 30 October 2018.
  16. ^ Have I Got News For You [@haveigotnews] (8 November 2019). "Catch all-new #HIGNFY, hosted by @adilray, with panellists @IvoGraham and @helenlewis. Tonight at 9pm – Only on BBC One" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  17. ^ "Have I Got News for You". entertainment.ie. 8 November 2019.
  18. ^ Have I Got News For You [@haveigotnews] (12 November 2021). "Tonight's #HIGNFY is hosted by @VictoriaCoren, with panellists @MaisieAdam and @helenlewis joining Ian and Paul. 9:30pm – BBC One" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  19. ^ Have I Got News For You [@haveigotnews] (16 June 2023). "Tonight's #HIGNFY is hosted by @CliveMyrieBBC, with panellists @munyachawawa and @helenlewis joining Ian and Paul. BBC One at 9pm (also on iPlayer)" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  20. ^ Cowdrey, Katherine (7 September 2018). "Cape to publish 'battle cry for difficult women'". The Bookseller. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  21. ^ "BBC Sounds - The Spark - Available Episodes". www.bbc.co.uk.
  22. ^ "The Spark (Radio Series)". Radio Times.
  23. ^ Lewis, Helen (22 April 2021). The Spark. ISBN 9781529142266.
  24. ^ "BBC Radio 4 - Helen Lewis: Great Wives - Five great wives from history you need to know about". BBC.
  25. ^ "BBC Radio 4 - The New Gurus". BBC.
  26. ^ HJ (10 November 2022). "Helen Lewis delves into the strange and fascinating world of internet gurus". BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 5 January 2023.
  27. ^ Norris, Miranda. "Russell Brand shares conspiracy theories from shed". Oxford Mail. Retrieved 5 January 2023.
  28. ^ O'Donovan, Gerard (21 December 2022). "Why millions have turned to online 'gurus' for modern-day enlightenment". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 5 January 2023.
  29. ^ Lewis, Helen (9 August 2012). "@helenlewis". Twitter. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 29 March 2013. As I've just told @alicetiara, the comments on any article about feminism justify feminism. That is Lewis's Law.
  30. ^ Lewis, Helen (14 January 2013). "Introducing Trans Issues Week". New Statesman. Retrieved 21 September 2021.
  31. ^ Lewis, Helen (19 March 2018). "From immigration to gender, the left is avoiding the hard work of persuasion". New Statesman. Retrieved 21 September 2021.
  32. ^ Jackman, Josh (25 July 2017). "Left-wing magazine boss says gender reforms will lead to bearded men exposing their penises to women". PinkNews. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  33. ^ Duffy, Nick (26 July 2017). "What will actually happen if the UK adopts a 'self-declaration' gender recognition law?". PinkNews. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  34. ^ Lewis, Helen (3 January 2019). "Maria Miller Called Me A Fake Feminist". Jezebel. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  35. ^ Morton, Lauren (2 November 2020). "Watch Dogs Legion used real political podcasters to deliver in-game talk radio". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 7 November 2020.
  36. ^ Chalk, Andy (6 November 2020). "Ubisoft is removing a 'controversial' UK journalist from Watch Dogs: Legion". PC Gamer. Retrieved 7 November 2020.
  37. ^ Muncy, Julie (11 November 2020). "Ubisoft Removes a Controversial Voice in 'Watch Dogs: Legion'". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved 13 November 2021.
  38. ^ "St Marys Worcester – Home". stmarys.org.uk. Archived from the original on 10 May 2019. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  39. ^ Lewis, Helen (2017). "Trying to Burst the Westminster Bubble". Cross Keys: 11–13. Retrieved 20 March 2024.
  40. ^ Lewis, Helen (26 February 2020). "Things You Only Know If You're Divorced Before 30". Grazia. Retrieved 3 August 2023.

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