Humanists UK is delighted to announce the appointment of three new patrons: critic, feature writer, and novelist Stephanie Merritt; feminist writer Zoë Fairbairns; and women’s rights campaigner Wendy Savage.
Stephanie Merritt is a critic, feature writer, and novelist, best known for her series of historical fiction thrillers featuring Giordano Bruno, under the pseudonym S. J. Parris. She’s written for among others, The Times, The Guardian, the New Statesman, Grazia, New Humanist and the TLS, as well as continuing to contribute regularly to The Observer. Stephanie is also a regular speaker and chair at literary events, including the Hay Festival, Edinburgh Book Festival, and the British Library. She has been a judge for the Perrier Comedy Award, the Orange New Writing Prize and the Costa Book Awards. She is a frequent contributor to Radio 4’s Front Row and Saturday Review.
Wendy Savage is an obstetrician, gynaecologist, and academic, best known for her long-standing campaign work for women’s rights in childbirth and fertility. She is also a campaigner for a compassionate assisted dying law, and has written and co-authored several books and many papers on women’s health and childbirth. Among other achievements, she served for 16 years on the General Medical Council and in 2018, was awarded the British Medical Journal Award for Outstanding Contribution to Health.
Zoë Fairbairns is a feminist writer who has authored a number of novels, short stories, radio plays, and political pamphlets. Her novels include Benefits (1979), Stand We at Last (1983), Here Today (1984) and Closing (1987). She is a founding member of the first St Andrews Women’s Liberation group and has worked at the Women’s Research and Resources Centre (now the Feminist Library), the Pregnancy Advisory Service, and Spare Rib magazine: a now iconic magazine challenging the stereotyping and exploitation of women from 1972-93.
Humanists UK Chief Executive Andrew Copson commented:
‘Having admired their work for many years, it’s a pleasure to bring on board these three incredibly accomplished women as patrons of Humanists UK. Representing three diverse areas of achievement, they demonstrate not just the diversity our network of patrons has to offer, but how humanists contribute towards the advancement of society across the board. We can’t wait to work with them!’
Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by over 100,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefiting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.
Humanists UK has over 170 patrons who support its work in various ways through their expertise and prominence in various fields. Existing patrons include significant figures from the spheres of science, philosophy, human rights activism, politics, the arts, and broadcasting. The President of Humanists UK is the anatomist, author, and broadcaster, Professor Alice Roberts. She is supported by Vice Presidents Professor Jim Al-Khalili, Professor AC Grayling, Shappi Khorsandi, and Polly Toynbee.