Natalie Haynes

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Natalie Haynes
Natalie Haynes at QEDcon 2013.jpg
Haynes at QEDcon in 2013
Born1974 (age 44–45)
Birmingham, England

Natalie Louise Haynes (born 1974)[1] is an English writer and broadcaster and a former comedian.

Early life[edit]

Haynes was born in Birmingham, where she attended King Edward VI High School for Girls.[2] She read Classics at Christ's College, Cambridge, and was also a member of Cambridge University Footlights Dramatic Club.


Haynes has been a panellist on Wordaholics, We've Been Here Before, Banter, Quote... Unquote, Personality Test, and Armando Iannucci's Charm Offensive on BBC Radio 4. She has contributed to BBC 7 comedy review show Serious About Comedy and reviews films for Front Row.

Her stand-up featured on Front Row and Loose Ends on BBC Radio 4, and on BBC 7's Spanking New. She has also appeared in the BBC Radio 4 Pick of the Fringe in 2004 and 2005. She has also appeared on Radio Five Live's Anita Anand Show, and MacAulay and Co. on BBC Scotland.

In 2005 and 2006 Haynes wrote and presented documentaries on comic writers, for BBC Radio 4; her subjects included the modern female writers Jessica Mitford and Dorothy Parker, and the classical male writers Aristophanes, Juvenal, and Martial.

She appears as a critic on Saturday Review on BBC Radio 4.[3]

On 4 February 2013 she was the feature of the BBC Radio 4 programme With Great Pleasure. Her guests included novelist Julian Barnes, who read from one of his own books.[4]

BBC Radio 4 has broadcast "Natalie Haynes Stands up for the Classics", four series in which she chooses people to make serious and amusing remarks about the good and the great from Greece and Rome from Petronius to Sappho.[5] A fifth series will be recorded in October/November 2019[6] and will be broadcast in December 2019.[6]


Haynes was a regular panellist on BBC's The Review Show and was the most-booked guest on More4's The Last Word. She appeared as a panellist on BBC 4's The Book Quiz, and on their Poetry Special alongside Andrew Motion and George Szirtes. She also appeared on Backlash, a BBC2 documentary on voluntary childlessness, wrote and performed in the STV/Assembly Television Best of the Fest in August 2005. Haynes has been a panellist on BBC Four's quiz show Mindgames, featured on Must Try Harder on BBC Two in 2006 and was the art and literature expert on the BBC Two quiz show Knowitalls.

In August 2007, she appeared on BBC Four's The Book Quiz hosted by David Baddiel.[7] On the programme she admitted researching a book on Wikipedia in order to bluff having read it.[8]

In April 2008 Haynes was a member of stand-up comedians team on University Challenge: The Professionals.[9] Her team lost to the Ministry of Justice, 100 points to 215. In November 2009 she appeared on BBC One's Question Time.[10]


Haynes has been a Guest Contributor for The Times since October 2006, and a regular contributor to New Humanist. She has also written for The Sunday Times Magazine, The Sunday Telegraph, The Big Issue, Loaded, and The Independent.

Live shows[edit]

Haynes has toured from Dublin and Berlin to Manhattan – and has performed five Edinburgh Fringe sell-out runs and national tours. She was nominated for the Best Newcomer Award at the 2002 Perrier Comedy Awards,[11] the first woman to receive this nomination.[12]

  • 2002 Six Degrees of Desolation (nominated for Perrier Award Best Newcomer)
  • 2003 Troubled Enough
  • 2004 Still Not Sorry
  • 2005 Run Or Die
  • 2006 Watching the Detectives

Haynes is the only comedian to have appeared at every[13] Newbury Comedy Festival.


Haynes' contributed an essay to Serenity Found, a book about Joss Whedon's television show Firefly, edited by Jane Espenson, which was published in 2007 by BenBella Books. Her entries on subjects from Agatha Christie to E.F. Benson can be found in Cassell's Little Black Book of Books, published in 2007.

Her first children's novel, The Great Escape, was published by Simon & Schuster in September 2007. It won a PETA Proggy award, for best animal-friendly children's book, in 2008.

Haynes has written a non-fiction book, The Ancient Guide To Modern Life, on the subject of how living well in the present requires some recourse to the ancient world. It was published by Profile Books in November 2010.

Haynes' debut novel Amber Fury (titled The Furies in the U. S.) was released in 2014. Her second novel Children of Jocasta, a retelling of Antigone and Oedipus Rex, was released in 2017.[14]

Haynes' third novel, A Thousand Ships, was published by Pan Macmillan on 4 May 2019.[15][16] She discussed it on BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour that month.[17]


  • The Great Escape (Simon & Schuster, 2007)
  • The Ancient Guide to Modern Life (Profile Books, 2010)
  • Amber Fury (Corvus, 2014)
  • The Children of Jocasta (Pan Macmillan, 2017)
  • A Thousand Ships (2019)


  1. ^ "The classics have a role to play in Natalie Haynes's debut thriller". The Herald. Herald & Times Group. 15 March 2014. Retrieved 3 December 2017.
  2. ^ "Awards Evening 2010:Old Edwardian Natalie Haynes presented awards to last year's U6 at the Awards Evening on Friday 12th November". King Edward VI High School for Girls. Archived from the original on 20 January 2012. Retrieved 26 March 2012.
  3. ^ "Saturday Review - BBC Radio 4". BBC. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  4. ^ "Natalie Haynes, With Great Pleasure - BBC Radio 4". BBC. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  5. ^ "Natalie Haynes Stands Up for the Classics - BBC Radio 4". BBC. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  6. ^ a b "Broadcasting | Natalie Haynes". Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  7. ^ Presenter: David Baddiel; Competitors: Jon Ronson, Natalie Haynes, Lionel Shriver, Mark Thomas (31 July 2007). "The Book Quiz: Series 1, Episode 3 of 5". The Book Quiz. BBC. BBC Four. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  8. ^ BBC – BBC Four Listings – Programmes[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ Presenter: Jeremy Paxman (1 April 2008). "University Challenge - The Professionals: Episode 2: 2008". University Challenge - The Professionals. BBC. BBC Two. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  10. ^ Presenter: David Dimbleby; Participants: Peter Hain, Nick Herbert, Natalie Haynes; Executive Producer: Steve Anderson (5 November 2009). "Question Time: 05/11/2009". Question Time. BBC. BBC One (except Wales). Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  11. ^ "Edinburgh Comedy Awards: Best Newcomer: 2002". Edinburgh Comedy Awards. Retrieved 3 December 2017.
  12. ^ Logan, Brian (16 August 2017). "Standups on why they quit comedy: 'I have nightmares about having to do it again'". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 3 December 2017.
  13. ^ "A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes". Pan Macmillan. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  14. ^ "The Children of Jocasta". Pan Macmillan. 5 April 2017. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  15. ^ "A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes". Pan Macmillan. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  16. ^ "A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes". Pan Macmillan. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  17. ^ Presenter: Jenni Murray (2 May 2019). "Small Island, Esther Wojcicki, Natalie Haynes". Woman's Hour. 32:32 minutes in. BBC. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 7 May 2019.

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