Sigrid Rausing

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Sigrid Rausing
Sigrid Rausing 01.JPG
Rausing in 2014
Born Sigrid Maria Elisabet Rausing
(1962-01-29) 29 January 1962 (age 56)
Residence Aubrey House, Holland Park, London, England
Coignafearn Estate, Monadhliath Mountains, Scotland
Alma mater University of York
University College London
Occupation Author, publisher, philanthropist
Spouse(s) Eric Abraham
Parent(s) Hans Rausing
Märit Rausing
Relatives Ruben Rausing (paternal grandfather)
Hans Kristian Rausing (brother)
Lisbet Rausing (sister)

Sigrid Maria Elisabet Rausing (born 29 January 1962) is a Swedish philanthropist, anthropologist and publisher. She is the founder of the Sigrid Rausing Trust, one of the United Kingdom's largest philanthropic foundations,[2] and owner of Granta magazine and Granta Books.

Early life[edit]

Sigrid Rausing is the daughter of Swedish businessman Hans Rausing and his wife Märit Rausing. She has one sister, Lisbet Rausing and one brother, Hans Kristian Rausing. Her grandfather Ruben Rausing was co-founder of the Swedish packaging company Tetra Pak.

Rausing grew up in Lund, Sweden,[3] and studied History at the University of York between 1983 and 1986. She has an MSc in Social Anthropology from University College London in 1987. She continued with a PhD focusing on post-Soviet anthropology, and did her fieldwork on a collective farm in Estonia, in 1993-4. In 1997, she was awarded a PhD in Social Anthropology from the Department of Social Anthropology at University College London followed by an honorary post-doctorate in the same department.[4]


Rausing's book, a monograph based on her PhD, History, Memory, and Identity in Post-Soviet Estonia: The End of a Collective Farm, was published by Oxford University Press in 2004. The book was preceded by a range of articles in scholarly journals, including Ethnologie Francaise.[5]

Everything Is Wonderful, a personal memoir of her year in Estonia researching the remnants of the Estonian Swedish community, was published by Grove Atlantic in the US, and by Albert Bonniers förlag in Sweden, in spring 2014.

Rausing writes occasional columns for the New Statesman, and her articles on human rights have appeared in the Guardian and the Sunday Times.[6][7][8][9][10][11]

In spring 2005, with her husband, Eric Abraham and publisher Philip Gwyn-Jones she founded the publishing house, Portobello Books,[12] and that Autumn she acquired Granta, a literary journal, and its book publishing arm.[13][14] She is now the publisher of both Granta magazine and Granta Books, including its imprint Portobello Books.

In February 2013 she was judged to be one of the 100 most powerful women in the United Kingdom by Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4.[15]

In January 2016 Rausing was the guest on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs. Her favourite music choice was Chopin’s "Études Op. 10 – No. 1 in C major". Other choices were: "Hallelujah" by k.d. lang, "The Vatican Rag" by Tom Lehrer, "Bird on the Wire" by Leonard Cohen, "Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us" by Alison Krauss and Robert Plant, "The Last Goodbye" by The Kills, "I Get a Kick Out of You" by Ella Fitzgerald, and "Le Cygne (The Swan)" by Camille Saint-Saëns. Her book choice was Mansfield Park by Jane Austen and her luxury item was the British Library.[16]


Rausing set up the charitable trust the Sea Foundation in 1988. In 1996 she transferred the funds to the Ruben and Elisabeth Rausing Trust, named after her grandparents; the trust was renamed the Sigrid Rausing Trust in 2003 and by 2014, had distributed approximately £208.3 million to human rights organisations globally.[17]

In 2004 she was the joint winner of the International Service Human Rights Award, in the Global Human Rights Defender category. In 2005 she won a Beacon Special Award for philanthropy.[18] In 2006 she was awarded the Women's Funding Network's 'Changing the Face of Philanthropy' Award.

She is a judge on the jury of the Per Anger Prize for human rights defenders,[19] and an emeritus board member of the Order of the Teaspoon,[20] a Swedish organisation against political and religious extremism.

She was the judge of the Amnesty International Media Awards in 2009 and 2010.[21][22] She serves on the advisory board of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court,[23] and is an Emeritus member of the international board of Human Rights Watch.[24]

She is a former trustee of Charleston, in Sussex, the museum which is the former home of Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell.[25] In 2010 she was made an Honorary Fellow of the London School of Economics.[26] In 2011 she was the recipient of the Morrell Fellowship from the University of York. In 2012 she was a judge of the Index on Censorship Media Awards.

In June 2014 she was elected an Honorary Fellow of St Antony's College, Oxford.

Personal life[edit]

Rausing is married to South African-born TV, film and theatre producer[27] Eric Abraham. They own Aubrey House in Holland Park,[28] and the Coignafearn estate, in the Monadh Liath, in the Highlands of Scotland.




See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sveriges befolkning 1970, CD-ROM, Version 1.04, Sveriges Släktforskarförbund (2002).
  2. ^ Charity Commission. Sigrid Rausing Trust, registered charity no. 1046769. 
  3. ^ Ward, Elisabeth (2 July 2006). "Frikostigt vägval". Svenska Dagbladet (in Swedish). Retrieved 3 June 2008. 
  4. ^ Benjamin, Alison (9 June 2004). "Family fortunes". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 25 November 2007. 
  5. ^ "L'impossible retour. Dons, aides et échanges dans le nord-est de l'Estonie in Ethonologie Francaise 1998". Presses Universitaires de France. 1 January 2002. 
  6. ^ "Yes to reforming the European court of human rights. No to overriding it". The Guardian (Press release). 
  7. ^ "Human rights are our best safeguard against tyrannical rule". The Guardian (Press release). 
  8. ^ "Belarus: inside Europe's last dictatorship". The Guardian (Press release). 
  9. ^ "'Corrosive' human rights protect us all". The Sunday Times (Press release). 
  10. ^ "New Statesman Various Articles". New Statesman (Press release). 
  11. ^ "Europe must help Georgia and Armenia, or Russia will". The Guardian (Press release). 
  12. ^ Edemariam, Aida (14 June 2006). "Books, money and milk cartons". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 3 June 2008. 
  13. ^ Townsend, Mark; Smith, David (9 October 2005). "The generous millionaire who saved Granta". The Observer. London. Retrieved 25 November 2007. 
  14. ^ Opitz, Caspar (3 December 2005). "Visionär med kulturellt kapital". Dagens Nyheter (in Swedish). Retrieved 3 June 2008. 
  15. ^ "The Power List 2013", Woman's Hour, BBC Radio 4.
  16. ^ "Sigrid Rausing", Desert Island Discs, BBC Radio 4, January 2016.
  17. ^ "Sigrid Rausing Trust". SRT. 29 January 2013. 
  18. ^ "Sigrid Rausing wins Judges' Special Beacon Prize" (Press release). The Beacon Fellowship Charitable Trust. 10 March 2005. Retrieved 29 January 2013. 
  19. ^ "Jury och nominering" (Press release). 29 September 2008. Archived from the original on 18 April 2013. 
  20. ^ "Teskedsordens hedersledamot Sigrid Rausing i reportage i Svenska Dagbladet". Teskedsorden. 16 January 2012. 
  21. ^ "Amnesty International Media Awards 2009". The Guardian (Press release). 3 June 2009. 
  22. ^ "Amnesty International Media Awards 2010" (Press release). Amnesty International. 5 May 2010. 
  23. ^ "Coalition for the International Criminal Court" (Press release). Archived from the original on 21 May 2014. 
  24. ^ "Board of Directors". Human Rights Watch. 
  25. ^ "Staff and Trustees". Archived from the original on 3 January 2013. 
  26. ^ "Honorary Fellow of LSE". 
  27. ^ Eric Abraham profile, The Guardian, London, Undated Eric Abraham..Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  28. ^ Dovkants, Keith (10 April 2008). "Troubled heir to the £5bn Tetra Pak fortune". London Evening Standard. 

External links[edit]