Natalie Haynes (1993)

The 1993 edition of Phoenix quotes Natalie in a Classics lesson: “see, I’m not as stupid as I look” - the first recorded and rather self-effacing steps toward a successful and unusual career.

Image © Dan Mersh

Natalie left KEHS in 1993 to read Classics at Christ’s College, Cambridge. After becoming a member of their esteemed Footlights Dramatic Club, Natalie went on to make a name for herself as Britain’s leading comedic Classicist author and broadcaster.

Natalie started out as a comedian and, for over a decade, she toured in Europe and the US, amassing five sell-out runs at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. In 2002, she was the first woman to be nominated as Best Newcomer at the Perrier Comedy Awards.

After 12 years on the road, and losing every Friday night of her adult life to gigs, Natalie moved across to radio and print journalism. She’s since appeared on pretty much every Radio Four show you can name, and has written extensively for major broadsheets and national magazines. A regular contributor to The Guardian, Natalie has written on topics as diverse as the absurdity of personifying the weather and what to do if you’re too sexy to get the job.

In all of her work, Natalie’s education in Classics shines through. Her understanding of Greek storytelling also makes her an excellent film critic, and has secured her positions on the judging panels of the Man Booker Prize and Orange Prize, among others. Natalie has also penned three major books herself; the most recent, The Children of Jocasta, has been celebrated on both sides of the Atlantic.

Natalie is a fervent advocate of the everlasting relevance of Classics. When AQA discontinued three of their Classics A-Levels, Natalie was among the first to point out the tragedy of their decision. Natalie is also a patron of Humanists UK, and has lectured on the strikingly humanist perspectives embedded in Ancient Greek drama. More recently, Natalie has followed in the footsteps of T S Eliot, becoming the President of the Virgil Society, delivering her presidential lecture on the Aeneid and the Female Hero.

“I still tend to think of my career as an array of luck and will, ranged against implausible odds. I suppose that's probably how most people feel, though...”

Rather than choosing a conventional career, Natalie is proving you can use your passions, abilities and interests to define your own unique path. Success is what you make it.