Rosie Boycott
Rosel Marie Boycott better known as Rosie Boycott, is a British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 journalist and feminist.

Journalism career

Daughter of Major Charles Boycott and Betty Boycott née Le Sueur, Rosel Boycott was born in St Helier, Jersey
Jersey, officially the Bailiwick of Jersey is a British Crown Dependency off the coast of Normandy, France. As well as the island of Jersey itself, the bailiwick includes two groups of small islands that are no longer permanently inhabited, the Minquiers and Écréhous, and the Pierres de Lecq and...

 and was educated at the independent Cheltenham Ladies' College
Cheltenham Ladies' College
The Cheltenham Ladies' College is an independent boarding and day school for girls aged 11 to 18 in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England.-History:The school was founded in 1853...

 and read mathematics at the University of Kent
University of Kent
The University of Kent, previously the University of Kent at Canterbury, is a public research university based in Kent, United Kingdom...

. After working briefly for the radical magazine Friends in 1971, she co-founded the feminist magazine Spare Rib
Spare Rib
Spare Rib was a second-wave feminist magazine in the United Kingdom that emerged out of the counter culture of the late 1960s as a consequence of meetings involving, amongst others, Rosie Boycott and Marsha Rowe.-Description:...

in 1971 with Marsha Rowe. Two years later she and Rowe became directors of Virago Press
Virago Press
Virago is a British publishing company founded in 1973 by Carmen Callil to publish books by women writers. Both new works and reissued books by neglected authors have featured on the imprint's list....

, a publishing concern committed to women's writing
Women's writing
Women's writing may refer to the general study of women writers or women's literature as a genre in general, or in particular languages. See:* Women's writing in English* Écriture féminine* List of women writers* List of women rhetoricians...

, with Carmen Callil
Carmen Callil
Carmen Thérèse Callil is a publisher, writer and critic. She founded Virago Press in 1973.-Life:Callil was born in Melbourne Australia, but has lived in London since 1960. Her mother Lorraine Clare Allen, widowed in her early forties, raised four children of whom Carmen was the third...

, who had founded the company the previous year.

From 1992-96, she was editor of the men's magazine Esquire
Esquire (magazine)
Esquire is a men's magazine, published in the U.S. by the Hearst Corporation. Founded in 1932, it flourished during the Great Depression under the guidance of founder and editor Arnold Gingrich.-History:...

. Boycott was the first female editor of two national broadsheet
Broadsheet is the largest of the various newspaper formats and is characterized by long vertical pages . The term derives from types of popular prints usually just of a single sheet, sold on the streets and containing various types of material, from ballads to political satire. The first broadsheet...

s, heading The Independent
The Independent
The Independent is a British national morning newspaper published in London by Independent Print Limited, owned by Alexander Lebedev since 2010. It is nicknamed the Indy, while the Sunday edition, The Independent on Sunday, is the Sindy. Launched in 1986, it is one of the youngest UK national daily...

and its sister publication the Independent on Sunday (1996–98). While editing the Independent on Sunday in 1997, she campaigned for the decriminalisation of cannabis
Cannabis is a genus of flowering plants that includes three putative species, Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis. These three taxa are indigenous to Central Asia, and South Asia. Cannabis has long been used for fibre , for seed and seed oils, for medicinal purposes, and as a...

 use by individuals, earning her the nickname "Rizla Rosie". She addressed the Decriminalise Cannabis rally in London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

's Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square is a public space and tourist attraction in central London, England, United Kingdom. At its centre is Nelson's Column, which is guarded by four lion statues at its base. There are a number of statues and sculptures in the square, with one plinth displaying changing pieces of...

 on 28 March 1998. Later, she edited the Daily Express
Daily Express
The Daily Express switched from broadsheet to tabloid in 1977 and was bought by the construction company Trafalgar House in the same year. Its publishing company, Beaverbrook Newspapers, was renamed Express Newspapers...

(May 1998 - January 2001), leaving soon after the newspaper was bought by Richard Desmond
Richard Desmond
Richard Clive Desmond is an English publisher and businessman. He is the owner of Express Newspapers and founder in 1974 of Northern & Shell, which publishes various celebrity magazines, such as OK! and New!, and British national newspapers Daily Star and Daily Express...

, who replaced her with Chris Williams
Chris Williams (journalist)
Chris Williams is a British journalist.A former editor of the Daily Express, he is currently editor of the Scottish Daily Mail-References:...

. She is currently the Travel Editor for The Oldie
The Oldie
The Oldie is a monthly magazine launched in 1992 by Richard Ingrams, who for 23 years was the editor of Private Eye. It carries general interest articles, humour and cartoons, and has an eclectic list of contributors, including James Le Fanu, John Sweeney, Thomas Stuttaford, Virginia Ironside,...

 Magazine and hosts The Oldie Travel Awards each year.

Outside journalism

Boycott has made several appearances on Newsnight Review and other cultural and current affairs programmes, where the fact that she is a recovering alcoholic has been discussed. She started drinking heavily again after losing her job at the Express. She was banned from driving for three years in September 2003 after crashing on the A303 in Wiltshire
Wiltshire is a ceremonial county in South West England. It is landlocked and borders the counties of Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire. It contains the unitary authority of Swindon and covers...

, injuring another driver. She was cut free from the wreckage. A court was told she had also been caught drunk driving
Drunk driving (United Kingdom)
Drink-driving laws in the United Kingdom govern driving, attempting to drive, or being in charge of a motor vehicle when either over the prescribed limits of alcohol in the body, or unfit to drive as a result of consuming alcohol or other intoxicating substances.-Offences:There are three main types...

 the day before.

Boycott has presented the BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4 is a British domestic radio station, operated and owned by the BBC, that broadcasts a wide variety of spoken-word programmes, including news, drama, comedy, science and history. It replaced the BBC Home Service in 1967. The station controller is currently Gwyneth Williams, and the...

 programme A Good Read
A Good Read
A Good Read is one of BBC Radio 4's longest running programmes where two guests join the main presenter to choose and discuss their favourite book. Sue MacGregor stepped down in 2010 as the programme's longest serving presenter...

. She has sat on judging panels for literary contests, notably chairing the panel judging the 2001 Orange Prize for Fiction
Orange Prize for Fiction
The Orange Prize for Fiction is one of the United Kingdom's most prestigious literary prizes, annually awarded to a female author of any nationality for the best original full-length novel written in English, and published in the United Kingdom in the preceding year...

. She is also a media advisor for the Council of Europe
Council of Europe
The Council of Europe is an international organisation promoting co-operation between all countries of Europe in the areas of legal standards, human rights, democratic development, the rule of law and cultural co-operation...

. In September 2007, Boycott appeared in the third series of Hell's Kitchen, and was the first contestant to be voted off.

Boycott is a Trustee of the Hay Festival
Hay Festival
The Hay Festival of Literature & Arts is an annual literature festival held in Hay-on-Wye, Powys, Wales for ten days from May to June. Devised by Norman and Peter Florence in 1988, the festival was described by Bill Clinton in 2001 as "The Woodstock of the mind"...

 in the UK and in Cartagena, Colombia
Cartagena, Colombia
Cartagena de Indias , is a large Caribbean beach resort city on the northern coast of Colombia in the Caribbean Coast Region and capital of Bolívar Department...


In March 2002, she denounced the New Labour government as "more reminiscent of a dictatorship than a free healthy democratic system", and announced her support for the Liberal Democrats. She is rumoured to be considering becoming a Parliamentary
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...


Since her accident, Boycott has been running a farm in Somerset
The ceremonial and non-metropolitan county of Somerset in South West England borders Bristol and Gloucestershire to the north, Wiltshire to the east, Dorset to the south-east, and Devon to the south-west. It is partly bounded to the north and west by the Bristol Channel and the estuary of the...


On 5 August 2008 she was appointed as the chairman of London Food as part of Conservative Mayor Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson
Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson is a British journalist and Conservative Party politician, who has been the elected Mayor of London since 2008...

's attempt to help improve Londoners’ access to healthy, locally produced and affordable food.

In June 2009 she appeared on Celebrity MasterChef.

In June 2009 she was also one of five volunteers who took part in a BBC series of three programmes Famous, Rich and Homeless about living penniless on the streets of London.


  • Batty Bloomers and Boycott: A Little Etymology of Eponymous Words, Peter Bedrick Books, 1983, ISBN 0-911745-12-2
  • The Fastest Diet, London: Sphere, 1984. ISBN 0-7221-1960-7
  • A Nice Girl Like Me: A Story of the Seventies, 1988, ISBN 0-330-30103-9
  • All for Love, Fontana Press, 1989, ISBN 0-00-617698-4
  • Our Farm: A Year in the Life of a Smallholding, London: Bloomsbury, 2007, ISBN 074758897X

External links

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