Dr Frances Ryan

Journalist, Academic and Activist

Frances is an award-winning journalist, author, and political commentator. She writes a weekly Guardian column, Hardworking Britain, which has been at the forefront of social affairs coverage in recent years. 

Frances uses her platform to speak out about the many forms of inequality in the UK, and to bring underreported issues to light. She was highly commended Specialist Journalist of the Year at the 2019 National Press Awards for her work on disability, as well as shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for Exposing Britain’s Social Evils 2019. 

Frances regularly contributes to television and radio, including BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and The World Tonight, BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine Show, BBC Sunday Politics, Channel 4 News and more. She has a doctorate in politics from The University of Nottingham, and guest lectures at universities and events around the country. 

Frances, who has generalised muscle weakness and is a wheelchair user, speaks openly about balancing her disability and a busy job, using the flexibility of freelancing to work around her own varying energy levels. “There’s still a real lack of disabled people in the public eye, and it’s easy to feel like the media isn’t for people like us. I want young people with disabilities and health conditions to know it’s absolutely possible, with the right support. Our voices are hugely important.”

This summer, Frances’ debut book, Crippled: Austerity and the Demonization of Disabled People, was released with Verso. The book calls for a more equal Britain for disabled people and has been praised by figures ranging from Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, I, Daniel Blake director Ken Loach, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, to Lee Ridley, the winner of Britain’s Got Talent.