Allison Pearson

Judith Allison Pearson (née Lobbett;[1] born 22 July 1960) is a British columnist and author.[2][3]

Early lifeEdit

Born in Carmarthen, Wales, Pearson moved to Burry Port, Carmarthenshire.[2] She attended Market Harborough Upper School (now Robert Smyth School), then Lincoln Christ's Hospital School, both comprehensive schools. She studied English at Clare College, Cambridge,[4] graduating with a lower second class degree (2:2).[5]



Pearson began her career with the Financial Times, where she was a sub-editor, before moving to The Independent and then The Independent on Sunday in 1992. There she was assistant to Blake Morrison before becoming a TV critic, winning the award for Critic of the Year at the British Press Awards in 1993.

Pearson was a columnist with London's Evening Standard and The Daily Telegraph, then took over from Lynda Lee-Potter at the Daily Mail.

Pearson ended her column for the Daily Mail in April 2010, when it was said that she was to join The Daily Telegraph.[6] In September 2010, Pearson resumed her role as a columnist with The Daily Telegraph.[7] As of 2015, Pearson was a columnist and chief interviewer of The Daily Telegraph.[8]

Pearson has presented Channel 4's J'Accuse and BBC Radio 4's The Copysnatchers, and participated as a panellist on Late Review, the predecessor of Newsnight Review.


Pearson's first novel, I Don't Know How She Does It (2002), is a "chick lit" examination of the pressures of modern motherhood. The book was a bestseller in the UK and the US, selling four million copies, and was made into a film.[2]

Pearson was sued by Miramax for non-delivery of a second novel, I Think I Love You, for which she received a US$700,000 advance in 2003. Delivery was due in 2005:[9] it was published in 2010.[10] The novel was about a teenager's passion for David Cassidy in the 1970s and the man writing the so-called replies from David Cassidy to the teenage fans, who meet up 20 years later after marriage, divorce, and children. Her newspaper, The Telegraph, praised the novel for its warmth and sincerity;[10] The Guardian declared it an "unrealistic and sappy romance".[11]

A sequel to I Don't Know How She Does It was published in September 2017. The novel, How Hard Can It Be,[12] continues the story of the protagonist Kate Reddy, now approaching 50 and struggling with bias against older women in the workplace. The book attracted considerable publicity but failed to become a bestseller.[3]


Pearson was listed in Spiked in 2007[13] as one of many journalists who had been duped by the anti-MMR campaign. This anti-MMR campaign has contributed to the significant rise in measles cases and complications including death that arise from the disease[14] in the UK and elsewhere.

In May 2007, when Madeleine McCann went missing, Pearson said "This kind of thing doesn't usually happen to people like us."[15]

In May 2008, Pearson upset Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, by suggesting her daughter Princess Beatrice was overweight. On the TV programme, This Morning, the Duchess criticised the absent columnist. Pearson denied claims that she had failed to respond to multiple phone calls from the Duchess.[16]

Pearson was criticised for a tweet sent less than an hour after the first of the 22 March 2016 Belgian bombings. In the tweet, she linked the bombings with the pro-Leave side of Brexit — the side that she herself supported on the matter.[17][18][19]

Following the May 2017 Manchester Arena bombing at the end of a concert, Pearson called for the introduction of internment.[20]

In September 2019, Pearson falsely accused a man with a seriously ill child of wearing a microphone when confronting prime minister Boris Johnson, due to the man's allegiance for the Labour Party. Despite being presented with evidence that this was untrue, Pearson did not issue an apology and defended her accusation.[21]

In September 2019 Pearson suggested that Angela Rayner was unsuitable to be Shadow Education Secretary because Rayner didn't get a GCSE grade above D upon leaving school in 1996.[22]

In December 2019, Pearson falsely claimed that a photo of a child lying on the floor of a hospital was staged[23] and that she had been given “detailed explanation” that the photo was staged. She also said that the photo was “100% faked”.[24]. The trust that runs Leeds General Infirmary issued a statement which apologised to the family that only chairs were available in the treatment room the boy was in and no beds. The hospital’s chief medical officer also apologised. In the same month, after the 2019 United Kingdom general election result, Pearson wrote on Twitter in relation to antisemitism in the United Kingdom, 'So now all the Jews are staying who do we nominate to leave?'[25] In January 2020 Pearson described Labour leadership hopeful Rebecca Long-Bailey as an Alien.[26]

Personal lifeEdit

Pearson was married to fellow journalist Simon Pearson,[1] in May 1988 in Lincoln. She subsequently lived with Anthony Lane,[27] film critic for The New Yorker.

Allison Pearson was declared bankrupt following a personal insolvency order made by the High Court of Justice in London on 9 November 2015. The bankruptcy petitioner was the Commissioners for HM Revenue and Customs.[28][29]


Allison Pearson talks about I Think I Love You on Bookbits radio.
  • I Don't Know How She Does It (2002) ISBN 0-7011-7302-5
  • I Think I Love You (2010) ISBN 0-7011-7697-0 and ISBN 978-0-7011-7697-6
  • How Hard Can It Be? (2018) ISBN 978-1250086082


  1. ^ a b "none". Private Eye. 27 May 2008.
  2. ^ a b c Rachel Mainwaring (11 March 2011). "Teenage crush inspires new novel on David Cassidy". WalesOnline. Retrieved 7 July 2011.
  3. ^ a b Alison Flood (8 April 2015). "Allison Pearson revisits bestselling heroine in middle age". The Guardian.
  4. ^ "Hollywood stardom for novel by Clare alumna". Clare College Alumni Association. 26 January 2011. Retrieved 7 July 2011.
  5. ^ The Historical Register of the University of Cambridge, Supplement 1981–1985. Cambridge University Press. p. 354.
  6. ^ Roy Greenslade (19 April 2010). "Telegraph woos Oborne and Pearson to quit the Daily Mail". The Guardian.
  7. ^ Eleanor Black (September 2010). "Women on the verge". Next. p. 32.
  8. ^ "Allison Pearson". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
  9. ^ "Miramax says British columnist failed to deliver book". Reuters. 11 August 2008.
  10. ^ a b Chloe Rhodes (21 June 2010). "I Think I Love You by Allison Pearson: review". The Daily Telegraph.
  11. ^ Carole Cadwalladr (21 March 2018). "I Think I Love You, Book review". The Guardian.
  12. ^ Charlotte Edwardes (14 September 2017). "How Hard Can It Be? by Allison Pearson – review". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
  13. ^ Michael Fitzpatrick. "The dark art of the MMR-autism scare". Spiked. Retrieved 16 June 2019.
  14. ^ Henry Bodkin (25 April 2019). "Measles: Half a million UK children unvaccinated amid fears of 'public health timebomb'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 16 June 2019.
  15. ^ Cole Moreton (2 March 2008). "Missing: The contrasting searches for Shannon and Madeleine". The Independent.
  16. ^ Stephen Brook (21 May 2008). "Pearson hits back at Duchess of York". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 May 2008.
  17. ^ Heather Saul (22 March 2016). "Telegraph columnist accused of 'shamelessly' using Brussels attacks to make Brexit argument". The Independent. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  18. ^ Allison Pearson (12 January 2016). "Why the Brexit referendum will be swung by the horrific events in Cologne". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  19. ^ Allison Pearson (1 March 2016). "Our schools and hospitals simply cannot cope with the influx of migrants – that's why we must leave the EU". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  20. ^ Chris Ellitt (23 May 2017). "Manchester attack: intern terror suspects, urges Cambridge-based writer". Cambridge News. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  21. ^ Allison Pearson [@allisonpearson] (18 September 2019). "Correction. Emotional father of sick patient turns out to be Labour activist who seems to have handily come equipped with his own microphone. As you do when your child is ill" (Tweet) – via Twitter.[non-primary source needed]
  22. ^ "Allison Pearson said the shadow education secretary's GCSEs were 'scary' – only 4 replies you need". The Poke. 23 September 2019. Retrieved 25 April 2020.
  23. ^ Will Taylor (10 December 2019). "'Monstrous' accusation that photo of sick boy on hospital floor was staged refuted". Yahoo! News. Retrieved 25 April 2020.
  24. ^ Alex Hern; Kate Proctor (20 December 2019). "'I was hacked,' says woman whose account claimed hospital boy photo was staged". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 April 2020.
  25. ^ Allison Pearson [@allisonpearson] (13 December 2019). "So now all the Jews are staying who do we nominate to leave?" (Tweet) – via Twitter.[non-primary source needed]
  26. ^ Jack Peat (9 January 2020). "Telegraph slammed for "alien" snub of Long-Bailey". The London Economic. Retrieved 25 April 2020.
  27. ^ Will Cohu (14 December 2003). "A writer's life: Anthony Lane". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 3 July 2007.
  28. ^ Andy McSmith (10 January 2016). "Diary: The ideal figure to bring discipline to unruly Blairites". The Independent. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
  29. ^ "Bankruptcy Orders – Pearson, Allison". The London Gazette (61417). 23 November 2015. p. 23080. Retrieved 22 January 2016.

Video clipsEdit