Lynsey Hanley was born in Birmingham in 1976 and moved to London, where she now lives, to study in 1994. Her first book, Estates: An Intimate History, was published by Granta in January 2007 and a second edition will be published in May 2012. She has written an introduction to the Penguin Modern Classics edition of Richard Hoggart's 1957 book The Uses of Literacy, and is currently working on her second book.
She contributes commentary pieces, arts features and book reviews to the Guardian and the New Statesman, and has written for the Observer, the Times Literary Supplement, Prospect, RSA Journal, the Daily Telegraph, the Sunday Telegraph, and the Sunday Times. She has appeared on BBC2's Newsnight; BBC Radio 4's Start The Week, Analysis and The World at One; BBC Radio 3's Night Waves and Sunday Feature; BBC Radio Five Live, BBC Radio London and Resonance FM.
Her main areas of interest are social class; economic, social and spatial segregation; the British education system; public policy; built-up areas; mass media and popular culture. Through these themes she tries to examine how individuals interact with their physical, cultural and social environments. As well as being an Honorary Research Fellow at Lancaster University, she is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a member of the Demos advisory council.
ESTATES: An Intimate History, Granta, 31 May 2012
Lynsey Hanley was raised just outside of Birmingham on one of the largest council estates in Europe, and has lived for years on an estate in London's East End. Writing with passion, humour and a sense of history, she tells the story of estates in Britain through the prism of her own experience, challenges the stereotypes that estates have in Britain, and asks why homes that were built to improve people's lives ended up, in many cases, doing the opposite.
'Articulate, savage, poignant, engaged and vividly descriptive' Sunday Times
'She describes [her estate] memorably in passages that read more like Lorna Sage's Bad Blood or Andrea Ashworth's Once a House on Fire than as a work of sociology' Blake Morrison, Guardian
'Lynsey Hanley's vivid, powerful book is about a dream gone sour. Her descriptions of hopelessness, drunkenness and yobbery in Tower Hamlets cry out to be engraved by a new Hogarth' Independent
'Moving and forthright ... The heart of Hanley's book lies in her vivid descriptions of how the physical walls of council estates can create and sustain what she calls "walls in the head" ... It's partly harrowing and partly cheering and it's a tale that's well worth keeping somewhere in mind when next you're laughing at Vicky Pollard' Observer
'Hanley's Estates is many things - social history, memoir, mild polemic ... she catalogues her experience in a manner that is honest, informed and never whimsical. A well-times and truthful book.' Daily Telegraph