Helen Lewis (journalist)

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

Helen Lewis
Lewis in 2017
Born (1983-09-30) 30 September 1983 (age 37)
Other namesHelen Lewis-Hasteley
EducationSt Mary's School, Worcester
Alma mater
OccupationJournalist, editor

Life and career

Lewis was educated at the independent St Mary's School, Worcester[5] and then read English at St Peter's College, Oxford. After graduating, she gained a post-graduate diploma in newspaper journalism from London's City University. Subsequently, she was accepted on the Daily Mail's programme for trainee sub-editors, 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, and is now[when?] on the steering committee for the Reuters Institute for Journalism at Oxford University.

For five years from August 2006,[6][7] Lewis ran a networking event, open to all young journalists, called Schmooze and Booze, for which she organised events held in a central London pub every other month.[6] Lewis commented in 2007 that older colleagues, who had worked with each other for quite a long time, all seemed to know each other, while her contemporaries did not.[8]

Lewis was appointed as deputy editor of the New Statesman in May 2012,[9] after becoming assistant editor in 2010.[10] In 2012, Lewis coined the light-hearted Lewis's Law: "the comments on any article about feminism justify feminism".[11] She has written about the harassment of women online and trolling.[12] Since July 2019, she has been a staff writer at The Atlantic.[13]

In November 2019, April 2020, October 2020 and April 2021 Lewis was a panellist on BBC's Have I Got News for You.[14][15]

Difficult Women

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. In the book Lewis argues that feminism succeeded because of complicated women who clashed with each other while fighting for equal rights, but that too many of these pioneers have been whitewashed or forgotten in a modern search for inspirational heroines. 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".[16]

Views on gender self-identification

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?"[17][18] Lewis has defended herself, saying "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".[19]

In November 2020, game developer Ubisoft removed two in-game podcasts from Watch Dogs: Legion that featured Lewis.[20][21]

Personal life

Lewis married Guardian journalist Jonathan Haynes in 2015. She was previously married in 2010 and divorced her first husband in 2013, saying "I fell in love with someone else" during their marriage.[22]


  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 16 July 2020.
  3. "Contact Us" Archived 4 April 2013 at the Wayback Machine, New Statesman website
  4. Helen Lewis Archived 15 February 2017 at the Wayback Machine, contributor page, guardian.co.uk
  5. "St Marys Worcester – Home". stmarys.org.uk.
  6. Helen Lewis-Hasteley "The secret of networking? Talking" Archived 20 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine, The Guardian, 10 January 2012
  7. "Schmooze and Booze celebrates first birthday" Archived 3 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine, Press Gazette, 28 August 2007
  8. "Plenty of schmoozing and plenty of boozing" Archived 2 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine, Press Gazette, 13 June 2007
  9. '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
  10. "New appointments and web expansion" Archived 5 June 2013 at the Wayback Machine, newstatesman.com, 16 May 2012
  11. 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.
  12. "John Nimmo and Isabella Sorley: A tale of two "trolls"". www.newstatesman.com. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  13. Mayhew, Freddy (29 March 2019). "Helen Lewis leaving New Statesman for staff writer role at Atlantic". Press Gazette. Retrieved 16 July 2020.
  14. 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.
  15. "Have I Got News for You". entertainment.ie. 8 November 2019.
  16. Cowdrey, Katherine. "Cape to publish 'battle cry for difficult women'". The Bookseller. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  17. 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.
  18. Duffy, Nick (26 July 2017). "What will actually happen if the UK adopts a 'self-declaration' gender recognition law?". PinkNews. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  19. Lewis, Helen (3 January 2019). "Maria Miller Called Me A Fake Feminist". Jezebel. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  20. 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.
  21. Chalk, Andy (6 November 2020). "Ubisoft is removing a 'controversial' UK journalist from Watch Dogs: Legion". PC Gamer. Retrieved 7 November 2020.
  22. Lewis, Helen. "Things You Only Know If You're Divorced Before 30".