Writer and broadcaster


Annalisa Barbieri in fishing gear.
Photo: Peter Warren ©

Hello and welcome to my website.

I’m a writer, primarily a columnist for The Guardian.

This is where you’ll find an archive of my work. It’s not yet comprehensive and my most recent work isn’t usually on here as I grant exclusive licenses to some newspapers for a period of time.

I started off my journalism career* at the Observer, then I went to the Independent on Sunday via The Times and The Evening Standard. I was Contributing Editor of the Independent on Sunday for about five years, a title that anyone in journalism will know is a nebulous one. The title I was really after was Editor at Large, but they wouldn’t give it to me.

I edited the fashion pages for about five years, and also wrote the Dear Annie column, which took a satirical look at fashion problems. After the late Alan Watkins’ political columns, Dear Annie was the most read column in the paper. Faber published a collection of my columns in the winter of 1998.

I covered the 1997 election for the Big Issue.

Half way through I was also made fishing correspondent of the daily Independent, a position I held for seven years, because I was always talking about fishing and was desperate to write about other things, but when you’re female and write about fashion, no-one listens to you about anything else in conference. So I had lots of titles but only two business cards: one said Contributing Editor and one said Fishing Correspondent and whichever one I flashed at you depended on what I wanted.

I went freelance in 2000 and started writing for The Guardian, mostly features and comment, carried on writing for the Independent and the New Statesman and along the way wrote for the fabulous, but now defunct, Bare magazine: I used to write great big long essays for them, apropos of nothing, but about everything.

In 2001 I covered the election for the New Statesman, from a sartorial point of view. I was its election fashion correspondent. I know, who knew such a title could exist? You can read the columns I wrote for this here (look for ‘Election 2001’ in the headline).

In September 2013 I was made sketch writer for The Week, a job which morphed into general columnist in January 2014.

In 2004 I started writing the Personal Shopper column in the Guardian Family section, which morphed into the Problem Solved column in 2008 which morphed into the Ask Annalisa Barbieri column for the Guardian Weekend magazine, in 2018.

In early 2019 The Observer magazine asked me if I’d like to be its Chocolate Correspondent and I said yes. I expect to be Diabetes Correspondent soon.

I also occasionally appear on radio, usually BBC Radio 4.

I was born in London to Italian parents and grew up speaking both languages. I now live in Suffolk with a varying number of chickens.

*before this I did many things for varying amounts of time from one week to nearly five years. I was an apprentice chef at Grosvenor House Hotel, a seamstress at Norman Hartnell, where I sewed the Queen Mother’s hem. This is the only job I’ve ever been fired from. I was also in the army and worked for the Home Office (Prison HQ). I also did time in fashion PR. This was by far the hardest job.