First published in 2013, Running Like a Girl has now been published in thirteen countries, most recently the Netherlands including the US (Scribner), the Netherlands (Arbeiderspers) and Spain (Ediciones Urano).

Alexandra Heminsley had high hopes: the arse of an athlete, the waist of a supermodel, the speed of a gazelle. Defeated by gyms and bored of yoga, she decided to run.

Her first attempt did not end well.

Six years later, she had run five marathons in two continents.

But, as her dad says, you run with your head as much as with your legs. So, while this is a book about running, it’s not just about running.

You could say it’s about ambition (yes, getting out of bed on a rainy Sunday morning counts), relationships (including talking to the intimidating staff in the trainer shop), as well as your body (your boobs don’t have to wobble when you run). But it’s also about realising that you can do more than you ever thought possible.

Very funny, very honest and very emotional, whether you’re in serious training or thinking about running for the bus, this is a book for anyone who after wine and crisps for supper a few too many times thinks they might . . . just might . . . like to run like a girl.

“Life affirming, liberating and fun” Jojo Moyes

“If you’ve ever wept “Why do I want to run?”, your answer is here.” (Caitlin Moran)

“Her honesty is winning … What’s truly excellent about this book, though, is its generosity. Heminsley wants to help other women to run” (Miranda Sawyer Observer)

“Candid, funny and inspiring, this is part personal journey, part “how to” guide for female runners.” (Sam Murphy Runners World)

“A meditation (slash romp) on running, life and love. Penned in her own inimitable style, the book is a funny tread through the raft of body insecurities and mental anguish we all go through when we put on our trainers.” (Grazia)

“An emotional whirlwind split into two perfect halves. First is the story of Heminsley’s own running journey – from being certain that she wasn’t a runner at all, to completing five marathons . . . The second half offers the most practical advice on ‘how to run like a girl’, invaluable, as once you finish the book, even the most unenthusiastic of sportswomen will be longing to pull on the Lycra and run for the hills.” (Psychologies)


Leap In, my memoir about swimming is available now in hardback and will be published in paperback in March 2018.

Alexandra Heminsley thought she could swim. She really did. 

It may have been because she could run.  It may have been because she wanted to swim; or perhaps because she only ever did ten minutes of breaststroke at a time.  But, as she learned one day while flailing around in the sea, she really couldn’t. 

Believing that a life lived fully isn’t one with the most money earned, the most stuff bought or the most races won, but one with the most experiences, experienced at the fullest, she decided to conquer her fear of wild swimming.

From the ignominy of getting into a wetsuit to the triumph of swimming to Ithaca, Alexandra learned to appreciate her body and still her mind. As it turns out, the water is never as frightening once you’re in, and really, everything is better when you remember to exhale.

“A joy to read . . . another triumph for Heminsley, a champion of sport in the truest sense, and a wonderfully compassionate voice.” (Kat Brown Daily Telegraph)

“Genuine and persuasive” (Guardian)

“This is a book that turns out to be about everything in life that cannot be calculated. Heminsley responds to life’s uncertainty by becoming decisive: “The grit was in the oyster now. It was the sea versus me…” It sets a remarkable example, and by the end it could not be more obvious: the true grit is not in the oyster but in Heminsley herself.” (Kate Kellaway Observer)

“Alex Heminsley has the rare gift of being able to take a sport – running or swimming – that most of us find a bit daunting and fill the reader with enthusiasm for it. She comes to sport from the position of the ordinary person – and yet shows that it can change your life in an extraordinary way.” (Jojo Moyes)

“Masterful” (Irish Independent)

“Inspirational and thought-provoking, Leap In is the perfect accompaniment to your New Years Resolutions.” (The Pool)

“A great entry point to the sport, it’s also a searingly honest personal story as she finds solace in the water when faced with tricky times.” (Glamour)

“The ‘woman-versus-sea’ narrative makes the book a page-turner. Heminsley tackles head-on the uncomfortable truth that it’s hard for an adult to get rid of the fears of decades.” (Daily Mail)

Leap In celebrates the glory of swimming.” (New Statesman)

“This is a candid and empowering book. I recommend it.” (Frost Magazine)


I have nearly a decade of ghostwriting experience, and have worked with most of the major publishing groups from Hachette to Penguin RandomHouse as well as small publishers such as John Blake.

Most recently I co-wrote Judy Murray’s memoir Knowing the Score: My Family and Our Tennis Story (Chatto, 2017). It was nominated for the William Hill Sports Book of the year award and the Cross Sports Book Awards.


I have over a decade of live radio experience having been a regular contributor to the BBC Radio 2 Arts Show, BBC 5live Simon Mayo books pan-el and BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme and Woman’s Hour.
I have also appeared on television shows such as Richard & Judy, Sky TV’s Angela & Friends and GMTV.

I have featured on several podcasts such as the Audible official London Marathon podcast, the Emma Guns Show, Leila Johnstone’s Hack Circus and many more.

I presented the books channel for 60secreviews for four years.


As well as my ghostwriting work, I have worked on commercial and tv tie-in titles with publishers such as HarperCollins and Hachette and TV companies such as Lime and Monkey Kingdom.

I have also completed commercial projects and consultancy work with brands such as Nike, and Holland & Barrett.


After having worked in publishing for six years I became a freelance journalist and broadcaster in 2004. I was books editor and commissioning editor of Elle magazine for eight years until 2014 and the BBC Radio 2 Arts Show with Claudia Winkleman for a decade. I have reviewed books for the Observer, Telegraph, Independent and many others.

I have written features for the Times, Sunday Times, Guardian, Observer, Independent, Telegraph,  Red, Glamour, Grazia, Tatler and The Pool as well as commercial titles such as Rafa’s Mondial magazine, British Airways’ High Life magazine, Virgin Atlantic’s Carlos magazine and Waterstones Books Quarterly.

I was a judge for the Costa Novel of the Year in 2011.

To commission me please email me at


As well as appearances discussing my own books, I have hosted events and interviewed authors for several publishers including Bloomsbury, Hachette and Penguin Random House, as well as presenting at the National Book Awards and hosting red carpet interviews for the Bookseller Magazine.

I am happy interviewing authors on stage, hosting panels or doing red carpet interviews, in a live environment, or recorded for use on author and publisher websites.

I will be at the Cork Literary Festival in July, talking and swimming…


I am represented by Sarah Ballard at United Agents.

You can find me online via Twitter or Instagram.

Instagram: @hemmograms
Twitter: @hemmo

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