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Katharine Whitehorn

Katharine Whitehorn

Sue Lawley's castaway this week is the journalist Katharine Whitehorn. Katharine Whitehorn was the first journalist to write a column about her personal and domestic life and draw broader truths from her experiences - it's the kind of material that is now commonly found on women's pages and is satirised in Private Eye's Polly Filler - but in the 1950s and 1960s it was a new phenomenon and she was its brightest and wittiest exponent.

She came to journalism through a circuitous route that took in Picture Post, Woman's Own and The Spectator, but it was on the Observer - where she worked for more than 30 years - that she really made her mark. She was at the vanguard of a generation of women who were told they could 'have it all' and she may even be the only one to have managed it - a successful, well-paid career, a happy marriage and complete family. While at the Picture Post she met Gavin Lyall - who went on to become a successful novelist - they had two sons and were married for 45 yea