Alexandra Heminsley is a bestselling author, ghostwriter, journalist, broadcaster and speaker. Her work has included writing Sunday Times Top Ten sellers, interviewing Jessica Ennis, Paula Radcliffe, and Courtney Love, and she has been nominated for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year Award. She has also written about the incalculable value of nail polish, Valley of the Dolls, and periods.

She is author of three books about women, bodies and sport, including bestselling memoir RUNNING LIKE A GIRL, which has now been published in thirteen countries, and the forthcoming SOME BODY TO LOVE: A Family Story  (January 2021). She also co-wrote Judy Murray’s bestselling and William Hill Sports Book of the Year nominated KNOWING THE SCORE. Her debut novel UNDER THE SAME STARS is published by Little, Brown in July 2021.

After working in publishing for six years she became a freelance journalist, broadcaster and author in 2004.  Alongside projects under her own name, she continues to work on ghostwriting projects for major publishers including HarperCollins and Hachette and TV companies such as Lime and Monkey Kingdom. She has also worked with brands such as Nike, hush.com and Holland & Barrett. 

After 8 years as the books editor at Elle, and 10 years at  BBC Radio 2’s Claudia Winkleman Arts Show, she now reviews books for Grazia magazine and the Sara Cox show on BBC Radio 2. She continues to write features and interviews for the nationals including the Guardian, Telegraph and Times, as well as women’s magazines such as Vogue and Kinfolk magazine.

She regularly chairs author interviews and panels for bookshop and festival events, and has spoken about her own work at several festivals including Latitude and Greenwich. She travelled to Mexico with the British Council in 2015, and was a judge for 2011’s Costa Novel of the Year Award.

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SOME BODY TO LOVE

Published 14th January 2021

What happens when life doesn’t go to plan? From the author of Running Like a Girl and Leap In comes a remarkable memoir about gender, body-image and the re-configuring of her own family

‘Today I sat on a bench facing the sea, the one where I waited for L to be born, and sobbed my heart out. I don’t know if I’ll ever recover.’

This note was written on 9 November 2017. As the seagulls squawked overhead and the sun dipped into the sea, Alexandra Heminsley’s world was turning completely inside out.

Alex’s then-husband was going to transition. The news had been delivered while their baby slept quietly in the next room.

But this vertiginous moment represented only the latest in a series of events that had left Alex feeling more and more dissociated from her own body, turning her into a seemingly unreliable narrator of her own reality.

Some Body to Love is Alex’s profoundly open-hearted memoir about losing her husband but keeping a friend whilst bringing a baby into the world. Its exploration of what it means to have a human body, to feel connected or severed from it, and how we might learn to accept our own, makes it a vital, level-headed contribution to the incendiary debates on body-image and gender.

‘A brave, thoughtful and timely book – calming and inspiring on our different relationships with our bodies, and vitally compassionate on trans rights’ Naomi Alderman

‘Insightful and wise, generous and kind’ David Nicholls

‘A treatise on empathy and grace in extraordinary circumstances’ Jojo Moyes

‘A book about how a personal crisis caused someone to open up rather than shut down . . . really admirable and carefully done . . . on bodies, families, gender identity, bravery’ Amy Liptrot

‘Wise, kind, funny, sad and beautifully written. Everyone who occupies a human body should read it’ Erin Kelly

‘The most moving and real account of a person’s relationship with their body I have ever read . . . A book with a wild, deep, joyous, tender love of people at its heart’ Emma Jane Unsworth

‘A much needed clarion call for greater empathy, compassion and respect for humanity’ Daisy Buchanan

‘Alexandra Heminsley understands what it is to be a woman in a world that judges us, our bodies, and the experience of these bodies, in every way and at all times . . . Charting her journey to her own body through loss, heartache and trauma, alongside love, friendship and hope, she suggests that each of us might find our own way to embody our deepest truths, and that we might do so with generosity to others on their own journey’ Stella Duffy

‘It took my breath away . . . It’s such a beautiful book, so full of compassion and kindness even in its furious honesty . . . You are going to love it’ Bryony Gordon

‘A raw, heartbreaking, uplifting memoir about reinvention, being a woman and love in all its forms. An important book, beautifully written’ Kate Davies, author of In at the Deep End

‘This memoir is going to change a lot of people’s lives, and I think it’s going to change the conversation’ Damian Barr, Big Scottish Book Club

‘A gorgeous open-hearted read but also a vital, instructive one’ Caroline Sanderson, Bookseller

‘Fabulous. Sensitively and cleverly written’ Judy Murray

RUNNING LIKE A GIRL

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

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

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)

GHOSTWRITING

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 independent 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) which went on to be nominated for the William Hill Sports Book of the year award and the Cross Sports Book Awards.

BROADCASTING

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 panel 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, The Adventure Sports Podcast, Leila Johnstone’s Hack Circus and many more.

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

BRAND WORK

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, Robinsons, hush.com and Holland & Barrett.

JOURNALISM

After having worked in publishing for six years I became a freelance journalist and broadcaster in 2004. I am currently the books editor for Grazia magazine, online and in print.

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 recently returned to BBC Radio 2, to review books for the Sara Cox Show.

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

hemmomail@gmail.com

SPEAKING

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, hosting web series Book Brunch for PanMacmillan and hosting red carpet coverage for the Bookseller Magazine’s National Book Awards.

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

I am speaking at Burgess Hill Library on 11th March as part of my local library group’s Wellbeing Month. The theme is ‘Everything you wanted to know about running but were too afraid to ask!’ Ticket are available here.

I am one of the speakers at Platf9rm’s International Women’s Day event at The Grounds in Hove. Earlybird tickets are available here.

I am interviewing broadcaster and author Emma Barnett about her new book PERIOD at Waterstone’s Brighton on Thursday 12th September. Tickets are available here.

CONTACT

My agent is Sarah Ballard at United Agents.

Or you can email me at hemmomail@gmail.com

You can find me online via Twitter or Instagram.

Instagram: @hemmograms
Twitter: @hemmo

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©ALEXANDRA HEMINSLEY 2018