Viv Groskop

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Viv Groskop (born 8 July 1973)[1] is a British journalist, writer and comedian. She has written for publications including The Guardian, Evening Standard, The Observer, Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and Red magazine.[2] She writes on arts, books, popular culture and current affairs, identifying as a feminist.[3] Groskop is a stand-up comedian,[4] MC and improviser who was a finalist in Funny Women 2012[5] and semi-finalist in So You Think You're Funny 2012.[6] She is an agony aunt for The Pool[7] and host of the Mint Velvet clothing podcast "We are Women".[8]

Life and career[edit]

Groskop was born in Hampshire and, with her younger sister Trudy, was raised in Bruton, Somerset. She won a scholarship to Bruton School for Girls, and later read Russian and French at Selwyn College, Cambridge, graduating with a first-class degree. She has an MA with distinction in Russian Studies from UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies.[9] From her teens, Groskop believed her surname was Russian, until a Canadian cousin[10] researched her family tree and discovered that the etymology of the Groskop name was Yiddish meaning "fathead", and that her Jewish great-great-grandfather Gershon Groskop had come to Great Britain in the 1860s from Łódź in Poland.[11] Gershon Groskop was also the great-grandfather of television presenter Gethin Jones.[12]

Groskop began her career in journalism at Esquire as an editorial assistant for Rosie Boycott at the age of 22. Groskop joined the Daily Express while Boycott was editor, becoming a columnist on the Sunday Express at the age of 25. She has been described as one of the most successful freelance journalists in the UK,[13] and has twice been short-listed for the Periodical Publishers Association Columnist of the Year.[14]

Groskop is a contributing editor at Russian Vogue. For the UK press, she has interviewed Russian speakers in their mother tongue – among them Marina Litvinenko, widow of the murdered Alexander Litvinenko[15] and Beslan school hostage crisis survivor Fatima Dzgoeva.[16] She has also conducted interviews in French, including one with the surviving daughter of Suite Francaise author Irène Némirovsky.[17]

Groskop's documentaries for BBC Radio 4 include It's Just a Joke, Comrade on Russian satire,[18] and L'origine de L'Origine du monde on the painting by Gustave Courbet.[19] She was a studio guest in the first TV edition of the BBC arts show Front Row.[20][21] She appears occasionally on the Radio 4 programme Saturday Live,[22][23][24] Sky News, Radio 4's Today programme,[25] Any Questions, Front Row,[26] and Woman's Hour,[27] and on Nick Ferrari's LBC 97.3 programme. She blogged about Downton Abbey and Poldark for The Guardian.[28][29]

She is the author of five books. Her first book, I Laughed, I Cried, is an account of Groskop performing one hundred comedy gigs in one hundred nights. It is described as "an experiment in doing what you want, even if it is terrifying, without giving up the day job". It was published by Orion on 27 June 2013.[30] Her second book, The Anna Karenina Fix, Life Lessons From Russian Literature, was published by Penguin on 5 October 2017.[31] Her third book, How to Own the Room, Women and the Art of Brilliant Speaking, was published by Transworld on 1 November 2018.[32] She launched a podcast of the same name in October 2018,[33] which was nominated for the Best Business Podcast award at the British Podcast Awards in 2021. [34]

Groskop was the Artistic Director of the Bath Literature Festival, the first season under her charge being held in February 2014,[35] and the last in 2016 when "the much-loved chief was waved off with a raucous party".[36]


  1. ^ Viv Groskop "I'm 40: the confusion starts here", The Observer, 6 July 2013.
  2. ^ Hannah Gilchrist, "Viv Groskop’s Top Tips For Autumn Winter 2011", Red, 10 October 2011.
  3. ^ Groskop, Viv (2 October 2009). "Rod Liddle: 'Maybe I was wrong to say I wouldn't sleep with Harriet Harman'". Evening Standard. The former Today editor turned Sunday Times columnist Rod Liddle greets me with the words: 'I have headlice. You know - nits.' So, I smile to myself, there is a God. And He is a feminist.
  4. ^ "New book The Anna Karenina Fix". Viv Groskop. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  5. ^ "Funny Women Awards 2012 Finalist – Viv Groskop", Funny Women.
  6. ^ "Heat 7 contestants", So You Think You're Funny?
  7. ^ Groskop, Viv (9 May 2015). "Life – Dear Viv: Do trial separations actually work?". The Pool. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  8. ^ "We are Women | The Podcast 01". Mint Velvet. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 31 May 2009. Retrieved 16 October 2009.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "The Groskop Family of Stockton. | Picture Stockton Archive". 13 May 2005. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  11. ^ Viv Groskop (26 March 2011). "Let little girls be in the pink | Opinion". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  12. ^ Abbie Wightwick (17 November 2012). "How TV star Gethin Jones' ancestors saved thousands of lives". Wales Online. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  13. ^ Kira Cochrane Mslexia magazine, October 2009.
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2009.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ Viv Groskop "Marina Litvinenko", The Observer, 3 June 2007.
  16. ^ Viv Groskop "The Beslan siege five years on", The Guardian, 8 August 2009.
  17. ^ Viv Groskop, "A masterpiece from history's suitcase", The Age, 4 March 2006.
  18. ^ It's Just a Joke, Comrade: 100 Years of Russian Satire, BBC Radio 4.
  19. ^ L'origine de L'Origine du monde, BBC Radio 4.
  20. ^ Front Row Late, BBC Two.
  21. ^ Ed Power (24 September 2017). "Front Row struggles to make the leap from Radio 4 to TV – review". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  22. ^ "BBC Radio 4 – Saturday Live, Viv Groskop's comedy marathon; Paul Nicholas's Inheritance Tracks". BBC. 22 June 2013. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  23. ^ "BBC Radio 4 – Saturday Live, Viv Groskop and Paul Sinton-Hewitt". BBC. 10 January 2015. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  24. ^ "BBC Radio 4 – Saturday Live, Gloria Hunniford". BBC. 7 October 2017. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  25. ^ "BBC Today: Tuesday 8 September 2009". BBC News. 8 September 2009. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  26. ^ "BBC Radio 4 – Front Row, Tim Burton's Frankenweenie, David Walliams, US TV series Girls". BBC. 15 October 2012. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  27. ^ "Radio 4 Woman's Hour – Pre-school clothes and gender". BBC. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  28. ^ Viv Groskop, "Downton Abbey: series three, episode one", The Guardian, 16 September 2012.
  29. ^ "Poldark: episode by episode | Television & radio". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
  30. ^ "I Laughed, I Cried" page at Orion Publishing.
  31. ^ Viv Groskop. "The Anna Karenina Fix, Life Lessons from Russian Literature". Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  32. ^ Groskop, Viv. "How to Own the Room". Retrieved 29 April 2022.
  33. ^ "How To Own The Room". Retrieved 29 April 2022.
  34. ^ "Nominations 2020". British Podcast Awards. Retrieved 29 April 2022.
  35. ^ Katie Jarvis, "Viv Groskop and the Bath Literature Festival", Cotswold Life, 18 February 2014.
  36. ^ Nick Clark (7 March 2016). "Bath Literature Festival: From a dark take on 'Little House on the Prairie' to a lively Brexit discussion". The Independent. Retrieved 9 March 2018.

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