Natalie Haynes


Natalie Haynes (m. 1993) is a British writer and broadcaster and a former comedian.

She was born in Birmingham in 1974 and attended King Edward VI High School for Girls in Birmingham and then read Classics at Christ's College. During her time at College she was a member of Cambridge University Footlights Dramatic Club.

Natalie's children’s book, 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. She wrote an essay for Serenity Found, a book about Joss Whedon's television show, Firefly, edited by Jane Espenson, which was published in autumn 2007 by BenBella Books. Natalie’s book on classics and the modern world, The Ancient Guide To Modern Life, was published in the UK by Profile Books in November 2010. She contributed an essay to Fifty Shades of Feminism, published by Virago in March 2013, and an essay for An Atheist's Guide To Christmas, profits of which go to the Terrence Higgins Trust. Natalie’s first novel, The Amber Fury, was published in 2014, by Corvus.

She judged the Man Booker Prize in 2013, the Orange Prize (now the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction) in 2012, The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2014, and the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year.

She is a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4: reviewing for Front Row and Saturday Review, appearing as a team captain on Wordaholics. Her show, Natalie Haynes Stands Up for the Classics, has also been broadcast on Radio 4, as has her documentary on Greek Tragedy and soap opera, Oedipusenders. Her documentary on the Defining Beauty exhibition at the British Museum, Secret Knowledge: The Body Beautiful aired in 2015 on BBC4 in the UK and on BBC World News everywhere else.

Natalie has appeared on Woman's Hour, You and Yours, A Good Read, and What's The Point Of...? and she has been a panelist on Banter, Quote Unquote, Personality Test, We've Been Here Before, and Armando Iannucci's Charm Offensive, all on Radio 4.

Natalie wrote and presented Laughing Matters, a documentary about comic writers. Her second documentary, Classical Comedy, about how modern comedians stole all their jokes from Aristophanes, Juvenal and Martial, was broadcast on Radio 4 in October 2006.

Her stand-up has been featured on Political Animal, 28 Acts in 28 Minutes, and Loose Ends on Radio 4, as well as on BBC 7's Spanking New.

Her live appearances, combining her previous career as a stand-up comic with her knowledge as a classicist, have taken her from giving The Voltaire Lecture in Bloomsbury to Emory University in Atlanta, via Manchester, Cheltenham, New York and Chicago.

She reviews the arts for Front Row and Saturday Review, and presents the sci-fi/horror strand, The 7th Dimension, on BBC Radio 4 Extra.

Natalie writes for The Guardian and The Independent. She was a guest contributor for The Times from 2006–2010. She wrote the fortnightly TV Detectives blog for The Guardian, and has written for The Observer, New Statesman, Sunday Times, Sunday Telegraph, Evening Standard and others. She is also a paper reviewer for Sky News and BBC News.

Natalie has been a regular panelist on BBC2's The Review Show and its predecessor, Newsnight Review.

Natalie has retired from her decade-long career as a stand-up comedian but occasionally returns for benefit gigs.