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Journalist as Author: Sarah Graham, Rebel Bodies

Rebel Bodies front cover

The NHS, as we regularly hear from major news outlets, is in crisis. This isn’t a particularly shocking news story as the health service has been underfunded and understaffed for a number of years now. However, there are a number of issues within healthcare that perhaps don’t get the regular media attention that they should.

One of those is the inequality that women suffer from when it comes to getting the diagnosis, treatment and medicine they need compared to issues around men’s health. Freelance journalist Sarah Graham has decided to explore this gender health gap issue in her book, Rebel Bodies. We caught up with her to talk about why she felt it’s an important issue to write about, her blog which began to explore the idea and her advice to anyone looking to make it as a freelance journalist.

Sarah Graham

Can you introduce your book in a couple of sentences?

Rebel Bodies is a guide to the gender health gap revolution. It’s an exploration of how the biases and inequalities in our healthcare system harm women and minority groups, but also a celebration of the patient advocacy and activism that’s speaking out and fighting back.

Could you tell us about how you came to write Rebel Bodies?

As a health journalist I’ve become increasingly interested over the last five or so years in issues around health inequalities, gender bias and medical misogyny. In 2018 I started my blog, Hysterical Women, to bring together women’s stories and experiences in one place. It particularly explores some of the dismissive and disbelieving attitudes that women encounter when seeking healthcare – the idea that we’re being ‘hysterical’ or ‘hormonal’, or that our symptoms are ‘all in our heads’. The idea with the book was really to move that conversation forwards – beyond simply curating experiences, but actually looking at the underlying reasons, highlighting some of the campaigns around the gender health gap, and exploring what the solutions might be.

Are you working on another book, or do you have other projects under way?

Not yet! I’m very focused on promoting Rebel Bodies at the moment, including lots of interviews and speaking events about the various issues at raises, as well as continuing to write about similar subjects as a freelancer.

What books are you reading right now, or about to pick up?

I’m currently reading advanced copies of Milk: An Intimate History of Breastfeeding by Joanna Wolfarth and Womb: The Inside Story of Where We All Began by Leah Hazard, both of which are absolutely fascinating – particularly having become a mother myself just over a year ago.

You have worked as a freelance journalist for nearly 10 years now, what would you say are some of your highlights during that time?

I think the book is the obvious highlight – it really feels like the culmination of everything I’ve been working on for the last few years, and I’ve had some fantastic conversations and work opportunities off the back of it. I’ve also been really proud of some of the under-reported issues I’ve covered, particularly for Refinery29 and The i, including miscarriage, alcoholism, the sexism surrounding ME and Long Covid diagnoses, and maternal mental health.

What advice would you give to anyone looking to get into freelance journalism or to any staff journalists considering going freelance?

Pitch! That’s it really – put yourself out there, work your existing contacts, and don’t be afraid to cold pitch new editors or publications you’d like to work with. I think finding a niche is also increasingly helpful, particularly as freelancing becomes more and more competitive. It helps to have something that makes you stand out.

Are you available for freelance commissions, speaker opportunities or other roles?

I am!

If I’m a PR professional with a story or another opportunity for you, how should I get in touch?

You can contact me by email on, or I’m on Twitter @SarahGraham7 and Instagram @SarahGraham7writer.

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