Natasha Walter on being a middle-aged activist

My guest today is the journalist and human rights activist, Natasha Walter. She is the author of two generation-defining books about feminism - The New Feminism, published in the late 90s and Living Dolls, published just over ten years later, a shocking polemic in which she questioned her own previous beliefs that equality was on the way to being a given and old fashioned sexism was just that, old-fashioned. Oh, how we laughed. 

Her new book, Before The Light Fades is very different and yet has a lot in common with those books. A memoir of grief and resistance it follows Natasha, now in her 50s, on a journey into her mother’s past after losing her to suicide in her mid-70s. What she finds not only makes her question what she thought she knew about her mother but also what she wants for her future self.

Natasha joined me to talk about getting to know your parents as people, rejecting her mother’s feminism and why we MUST keep talking across the generations. We also discussed What feminine rebellion looks like, Doing civil disobedience in her 50s and Why she’s so over organising other people. Oh and thanks to Natasha’s mum I have a new mantra: You HAVE shoes!

If you enjoyed this episode you might also like our conversations with bestselling novelist Kate Mosse and broadcaster, therapist and agony aunt, Philippa Perry.

* You can buy all the books mentioned in this podcast at The Shift bookshop on, including Before The Light Fades and Living Dolls by Natasha Walter, and the book that inspired this podcast, The Shift: how I lost and found myself after 40 - and you can too, by me.

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