Distinguished alumnae

On this page we list just a few of the very many St Anne’s female and male alumnae whose professional activities - whether in government, education, business and finance, writing, science, charities, the law, or the arts - are making a very real contribution to public and corporate life around the world.

Arts and entertainment

  • Maria Aitken (1963), actress, writer and director, whose credits include A Fish Called Wanda and The 39 Steps
  • Karen Armstrong (1967), writer, whose books include Through the Narrow Gate (1982) and The Spiral Staircase (2004) and Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life (2010)
  • Juliet Barker (Bateson, 1977), biographer and historian, author of a number of well-regarded works on the Brontës, William Wordsworth, Medieval tournaments, and the Battle of Agincourt
  • Wendy Beckett (1950), art historian, author of books including Sister Wendy's Odyssey (1992) and Sister Wendy's Grand Tour (1994), based on her BBC TV series of the same name
  • Jana Bennett (1974), television executive, President Worldwide Networks and Global iPlayer until 2012
  • Louise Berridge (Newsome, 1979), writer and television producer, executive producer of EastEnders, 2002-04. Credits also include Messiah and an adaptation of Wuthering Heights
  • Mark Bostridge (1979), biographer and critic, author of Vera Brittain: A Life (1995), Lives For Sale (2004), and Florence Nightingale: The Woman and Her Legend (2008)
  • UA Fanthorpe (1949), poet, the first woman in 315 years to be nominated for the post of Professor of Poetry at Oxford, and recipient of the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in 2003
  • Helen Fielding (1976), writer, author of Bridget Jones’s Diary (1996), Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (1999) and Mad About the Boy (2013), as well as Olivia Joules and The Overactive Imagination (2004).
  • Julian Gallant (1984), musician, Chief Conductor of the Russian Chamber Orchestra of London and Director of Pushkin House and Director of Oxford Philomusica
  • Lucia Graves (1962), writer and translator, translations include the worldwide bestsellers The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, a novel The Memory House, and a memoir entitled A Woman Unknown.
  • Zinnie Harris (1990), playwright, screenwriter and director, works include By Many WoundsFurther than the Furthest Thing;  Nightingale and Chase which was given an Arts Foundation Fellowship Award for playwriting and shortlisted for the Susan Smith Blackburn Award; and The Wheel, which won an Edinburgh Fringe First Award, was joint winner of the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award.
  • Mary Harron (1972), film director and screenwriter, most well known for her films I Shot Andy Warhol (1996), American Psycho (2000) and The Notorious Bettie Page (2006).
  • Zoë Heller (1984), journalist and author, written for The Daily Telegraph, Sunday Times and Independent, and whose second novel Notes on a Scandal (2003), shortlisted for the Booker Prize
  • Penelope Lively (Low, 1951), writer, whose books include the Booker Prize-winning Moon Tiger (1987), and Booker Prize-shortlisted The Road to Lichfield (1977) and According To Mark (1984), The Ghost of Thomas Kempe (1973), winner of the Carnegie Medal, and the Whitbread Prize-winning A Stitch in Time (1976).
  • Jill Mann (Ditchburn, 1961), author,
  • Ben McIldowie, (1999), musician, is otherwise known as Mr Hudson and has achieved top 10 hits with his singles Supernova and White Lies.
  • Charlotte Moore (1978), author, whose books include George and Sam (2005), Grandmother's Footsteps (2010) and Hancox: A House and a Family (2011)
  • Jill Paton Walsh (Bliss, 1955), writer, whose books include the Whitbread Prize-winning The Emperor's Winding Sheet (1974), and whose adult novels include the Booker Prize-shortlisted Knowledge of Angels (1994) and her completion of Thrones, Dominations (1998), an unfinished work by Dorothy L Sayers
  • Wendy Perriam (Brech, 1958), author, whose books include Absinthe for Elevenses (1980), Breaking and Entering (1994) and Broken Places (2010)
  • Ged Quinn (1981), artist and musician, who has exhibited internationally including at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Ljubljana, Slovenia, at the Millennium Galleries in Sheffield and at the City Art Centre in Edinburgh. He is represented by Stephen Friedman Gallery in London.
  • Sir Simon Rattle (1980), musician, principal conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra 1980–1998, and elected principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in 1999.  It was announced in March 2015 that Rattle would become Music Director of the London Symphony Orchestra from September 2017.
  • William Sieghart (1979), publisher, is founder and Chairman of Forward Ltd, one of the leading publishing agencies in the world
  • Harriet Spicer (1969), publisher, was co-founder and a former chief executive of Virago Press.
  • Stella Tillyard (1975), historian and writer, whose books include Aristocrats (1994), Citizen Lord (1997) and A Royal Affair (2006), Tides of War (2011)
  • Susanna White (1980), television and film director, helped create programmes including  Jane Eyre (2006), Teachers (2003), and Holby City (2000), and directed the film Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang (2010)
  • Victor Ubogu (1987), sportsman, was a prop for the England rugby union team, 1992-99
  • Jenny Uglow (Crowther, 1966), historian, editor and critic, is Editorial Director of Chatto & Windus.  Books include the Whitbread Prize-shortlisted biographies of Elizabeth Gaskell (1992) and Hogarth (1997), and The Lunar Men (2002), winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for biography.
  • Peggy Woodford (1956), writer, is author of numerous novels for children and adults including Abraham’s Legacy (1963) and most recently One Son is Enough (2006)
  • Diana Wynne Jones (1953), writer, whose award-winning children’s books include Charmed Life (1977), Howl's Moving Castle (1986) and Dark Lord of Derkholm (1998)

Journalism and media

  • Jackie Ashley (1974), journalist and broadcaster, former political editor of the New Statesman, written for The Guardian since 2002, and presenter of BBC Radio 4's The Week in Westminster.
  • Lynn Barber (1963), author and journalist. Her memoir An Education (2009) was adapted as a film by Nick Hornby.
  • Tina Brown (1971), journalist and author. In 2008 she became co-founder and editor of the online news magazine, The Daily Beast, which recently merged with the US weekly magazine Newsweek
  • Frances Cairncross (1962), journalist and academic, author of The Death of Distance (2001) and The Company of the Future (2002). She has been Rector of Exeter College, Oxford, since 2004
  • Mike Danson (1982), Chairman of Progressive Digital Media Group.
  • Hadley Freeman (1996), journalist, Guardian columnist and features writer, as well as a contributing editor to Vogue.
  • Mark Gallagher (1988) Director of Group Corporate Affairs, ITV 2007–2009. In 2010, he founded Pagefield, an independent communications consultancy.
  • Judith Judd (Berry, 1968), journalist, former editor of The Times Education Supplement. Also education correspondent of the Observer and Independent on Sunday
  • Martha Kearney (1976), broadcaster and journalist, is the lead presenter of BBC Radio 4’s, The World At One, and former presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, and former political editor of Newsnight.
  • Nuala O'Faolain (1963), writer, journalist and broadcaster, writer for the Irish Times and producer for RTE, and author of Are You Somebody (1996) which reached No 1 on the New York Times bestseller list.
  • Melanie Phillips (1970), journalist and author, writer for the Daily Mail since 2001; her books include All Must Have Prizes (1996) and Londonistan: How Britain Is Creating a Terror State Within (2006).
  • Libby Purves (1968), journalist and broadcaster, the first female presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, presenter of Radio 4’s Midweek, commentator and critic for The Times, whose novels include Mother Country (2002), Love Songs and Lies (2007) and Shadow Child (2009).
  • David Roberts (1983), journalist, is Group Editor at John Brown Citrus Publishing
  • Gillian Reynolds (Morton, 1954), journalist and broadcaster, worked as Radio Critic for the Guardian and, currently, for the Daily Telegraph, as well as Programme Controller of Radio City, Liverpool. She is a Fellow of both the Radio Academy and the Royal Television Society, a Trustee of the National Media Museum and an Honorary Fellow of the College.
  • Jacky Rowland (1983), journalist, is a former BBC Foreign Affairs correspondent. Now correspondent for Al Jazeera International news channel
  • Jancis Robinson OBE (1968), wine writer and journalist, the first person outside the wine trade to become a Master of Wine in 1984
  • Damien Smith (1992), journalist, editor of Motor Sport Magazine
  • Frances Stonor Saunders (1984), journalist and historian, former arts editor for the New Statesman, and author of books including Who Paid the Piper?: CIA and the Cultural Cold War (1999), Hawkwood: Diabolical Englishman (2004) and The Woman Who Shot Mussolini (2010).
  • Russell Taylor (1979), writer, journalist and composer, best known as half of the team that creates the comic strip ‘Alex’ which appears in The Daily Telegraph
  • Polly Toynbee (1966), journalist, former BBC social affairs correspondent, columnist for The Guardian since 1988, and author of Hard Work: Life in Low-Pay Britain (2003)
  • Ian Wisniewski (1980), writer and journalist, is one of the country's foremost spirits experts

Education

  • Charlotte Avery (1988), teacher, is Headmistress of St Mary’s School, Cambridge
  • Gillian Beer (Thomas, 1954), academic and literary critic, whose books include Darwin's Plots (1983) and Virginia Woolf: The Common Ground (1996). President of Clare Hall, Cambridge, 1994-2001
  • Helen Fraser (1967), Chief Executive of the Girls Day School Trust and former Managing Director of Penguin UK 1997–2009.
  • Jeremy Grundy (1985), teacher, is Headmaster of Akeley Wood School, Buckingham
  • Cynthia Hall (Davis, 1971), teacher, is former Headmistress of Wycombe Abbey.
  • Chris Howard, (1991), academic, is President of Hampton-Sydney College, Virginia
  • Nannerl Keohane (Overholser, 1961), academic and political theorist, President of Wellesley College, Massachussetts (1981-93), and Duke University, North Carolina (1993-2004). She is currently Visiting Professor of Public Affairs at Princeton University, and on the governing body of Harvard University
  • Anne Lonsdale CBE (Menzies, Subject, 1958), academic and university administrator, President of New Hall, Cambridge, 1996–2008, Deputy Vice-Chancellor in the University of Cambridge 2000–2008
  • Hilary Macaulay (1990), teacher, Principal at Harris City Academy, Crystal Palace, and former Principal of West London Academy
  • Jill Milner (Land, 1976), teacher, Headmistress of Walthamstow Hall, Sevenoaks
  • Sarah Ntiro (Nyendwoha, 1951), first female undergraduate at Oxford from Uganda, teacher at Gayaza High School (where she campaigned for equal pay for female graduates), one of the first two African women members of the Uganda Legislative Council (1958-61) and founder of the Teaching Service Committee, now the Educational Service Commission, when she worked in the Ministry of Education (1965-67). She later worked in the Office of the Vice Chancellor, Makerere University, (1970-78) but was exiled to Nairobi, Kenya, (1978-86). While in exile, she established an Education Consultancy of Higher Education for African Refugees.
  • Nicola Padfield (Helme, 1973), academic, Master of Fitzwilliam College Cambridge
  • Shirley Pearce (1972), psychologist and academic, former Dean of the Institute of Health and Director of the Centre for Interprofessional Practice at the University of East Anglia, she was appointed Vice-Chancellor at the University of Loughborough in 2006
  • Valerie Pearl (Bence, 1946), academic and historian, is author of several scholarly works on the English Civil War, and was President of New Hall, Cambridge, 1981-95

Finance and business

  • Alex von Behr (1979), Senior Vice President Customer Development, Unilever Asia
  • Michelle Clayman (1972), investment banker, Founder, Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer of New Amsterdam Partners in New York
  • Mike Colling (1979), advertising executive, founder and Managing Director of MC&C
  • Shawn Collinson (1980), management consultant, is Chief Strategy Officer for Accenture.
  • Paul Donovan (1990), economist, Managing Director, Global Economics at UBS
  • Irene Dorner (1973), banker, is Group Managing Director, President and Chief Executive Officer, HSBC USA
  • Richard Girling (1984), investment banker, is a Partner of Centerview Partners and CEO of Centerview Partners Europe, which he founded in 2009
  • Janet Hull (1973), Director of Marketing and Reputation Management for the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising
  • Charles Inge (1980), advertising executive, is a Founding Partner and Creative Director of advertising agency CHI&Partners
  • Bernadette Knox (1973), advertising executive, former Global Planning Director for J Walter Thompson
  • Victor Kuk (1990), Chief Executive of Axa Insurance Greater China & South East Asia
  • Ged Parton (1984), advertising executive, CEO Global Clients, Practices and Capabilities for Synovate
  • Helen Weir (Luing, 1980), banker, former Group Executive Director - UK Retail Banking, at Lloyds Banking Group PLC. Currently Finance Director at John Lewis.
  • Maria Willetts (Ferreras, 1974), banker, built up the Chase Manhattan Bank’s global venture capital and merchant banking business; became the bank's first female Executive Vice President in 1993

Government and public service

  • Danny Alexander (1990), politician, former Chief Secretary to the Treasury
  • Edwina Currie (Cohen, 1965), broadcaster and former politician, Conservative Member of Parliament for South Derbyshire (1983-97), and author of books including A Parliamentary Affair (1994) and She's Leaving Home (1997)
  • Philippa Drew (1965), civil servant, former Director of Global Issues at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  • Ursula Gacek (Sauc, 1981), Polish politician, former Polish Ambassador to the Council of Europe, currently Consul General of the Republic of Poland in New York
  • Judy Mallaber (1969), politician, Labour Member of Parliament for Amber Valley from 1997 to 2010
  • Rosalind Micklem (1975), National Director for Scotland at the Equality and Human Rights Commission
  • Barbara Monroe (Jones, 1970), Chief Executive of St Christopher’s Hospice in London
  • Lindsay Northover (Granshaw, 1973), politician, Liberal Democrat peer, Government Whip and Government Spokesperson for health, justice, law officers, Wales, equalities and women's issues, Advocate General for Scotland, and international development
  • Alice Perkins (1968) worked in the Cabinet Office, Treasury, and Departments of Health and Social Security in policy making, operational and resource management roles
  • Rosie Plummer (James 1974), former Director of the National Botanic Garden of Wales
  • Amanda Pritchard (1994), health professional, Deputy Chief Executive of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • Anuradha Vittachi (1966) co-founder of the One World Network

Law

  • Presiley Baxendale (1969), lawyer, Queen’s Counsel, leading mediator, and Joint Head of Blackstone Chambers 1998-2004
  • Belinda Bucknall (1969), lawyer, Queen’s Counsel specialising in international commercial and shipping law
  • Pepita Capriolo (1976), lawyer, judge of the Quebec Superior Court in Montréal, Canada
  • Sara Cockerill (1986), lawyer and author, Queen's Consel specialising in international commercial law. In 2017, she was appointed to sit as a High Court Judge
  • Ruth Deech (Fraenkel, 1962), academic and peer, Fellow in Law (1970-91), and Principal (1991-2004), St Anne’s College, Oxford, she chaired the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (1994-2002), was a governor of the BBC (2002-06), and appointed the first Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education in 2004. From 2009-2014, she chaired the Bar Standards Board, and she was created a life peer, Baroness Deech of Cumnor, in 2005.
  • Jo Delahunty (1982), lawyer, Queen’s Counsel specialising in child abuse cases, sex abuse, ritualised abuse and ISIS/ radicalism cases. Jo was made a Recorder in 2009, elected a Bencher of Middle Temple in 2011 and in 2016 was appointed Professor of Law for Gresham College.
  • Sam Grodzinski (1986), lawyer, Queen's Counsel specialising in public law and human rights, and commercial law
  • Jean Southworth (1947), lawyer, Queen’s Counsel, and Recorder of the Crown Court, 1973-93. Elected an Honorary Fellow in 2004
  • Heather Swindells (1968), lawyer, Queen’s Counsel specialising in family law, and a Circuit Judge

Science and medicine

  • Mary Archer (Weeden, 1962), scientist and academic, specialises in the direct conversion of solar energy to chemical fuels or electric power. Chairman of Addenbrooke's NHS Trust, Cambridge, 2002–2012
  • Jean Golding OBE (Bond, 1958), academic, founder of the Children of the 90s project
  • Melinda Letts (1974) former Chief Executive of the National Asthma Campaign, and chaired the Long-term Medical Conditions Alliance
  • Dame Linda Partridge (1968), academic, professor at University College London and a Fellow of the Royal Society
  • Sharmila Nebhrajani OBE (1985), Chair of the Human Tissue Authority, Director of External Affairs Medical Research Council
  • Shirley Sherwood (Briggs, 1952) is a collector of, and author of books about, botanical illustrations. The Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art, opened on 19 April 2008, at Kew Gardens houses her collection, and is named after her

Philanthropy

  • Kay Fitzherbert (Norris, 1955), social worker, founded the National Pyramid Trust for Children (now called Pyramid), with the aim of developing preventive work with vulnerable children
  • Gill Tishler (1976), Chief Executive of the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) 1993 to 2007. Currently Director of the Citizens Advice Bureau in Oxford