An Evening with Marina Hyde

14 November 2023

It was a pleasure to welcome Marina Hyde (DH 1992) for a Senior Medley Lecture about her outstanding career in journalism. For Izzy in the Upper Sixth (Year 13), this was a fantastic opportunity to interview a leading figure in the career she wishes to pursue. Please enjoy her account of the evening.

On Tuesday 7 November, I had the great pleasure of, alongside Mrs Barnard (Director of Futures), interviewing the wonderful Marina Hyde for our second Medley Lecture of the academic year.

Before-hand, myself and other members of the Upper Sixth, alongside Mrs McKendrick (Headmistress) and Mrs Barnard were treated to a remarkable dinner by the Catering staff, where we got to hear all about what Marina is doing at the moment, and what she has coming up soon. As somebody who wishes to go into journalism, it was simply an opportunity I could not turn down. To be able to research into Marina’s work, style of writing, and time at Downe was very interesting; to ask her the many questions that I had was incredible. This experience has only further spiked my interest in journalism.

Despite some nerves on my part, the interview was wonderful. Marina caught the attention of those in attendance through her thought-provoking answers and, perhaps something she is most well-known for, her wit. We did, I promise, ask some challenging political questions but also took the time to ask her about her book. This was followed by some quick-fire questions, including my personal favourite, “Tatler or Vogue”.

Marina’s answers provided an insight into the world of journalism, specifically about politics. We discussed her thoughts on the Covid Inquiry whilst also discussing how politicians seem to be getting closer to becoming celebrities through the use of social media. We also discussed how Marina earnt the ‘Sportswriter of the Year Award’ in 2020, being the first and only woman to ever do so.



Before opening the questions to the audience, I was able to ask Marina a question that she has probably been asked over one hundred times, but still my favourite one of the night.

“If you look back to yourself aged 18, as an Upper Sixth at Downe, what advice would you give your future self”.

To this, Marina responded to keep being ambitious, and essentially go for it. Marina seemed to fall into journalism and has ended up writing about politics due to her interest in the subject from her time at school, something that I’m sure many of us are grateful for, as her wit and satirical style is an easy way to spark joy in your day.

I must express my huge thanks not only to Marina for the wonderful evening, but also to Mrs McKendrick for presenting me with an incredible opportunity, and to Mrs Barnard for being an incredible co-interviewer to be with onstage. Overall, I have learnt so much from speaking with Marina, and she was kind enough to give me some tips for what I can do to get a start in journalism, offering me her support in the matter. It was an incredible experience and one I shall treasure greatly for the rest of my life, of that, I am sure. 

– Izzy, Upper Sixth

Marina followed the event with a book signing of What Just Happened?!: Dispatches from Turbulent Times, which draws from her spectacularly funny columns in The Guardian newspaper.

Mrs Toogood (Assistant Head, Operations) coordinated the event and had this to say:

It was such a pleasure to welcome Marina to Downe House. Marina spoke very warmly of how much she had loved her time at the School as ‘who wouldn’t want to live with their best friends for seven years.’

We were so grateful that she gave up her time to be with us for the evening, staying well past the end of the event to sign books for pupils and visitors and we cannot wait to welcome her back again.

– Mrs Toogood, Assistant Head (Operations)

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