Polly Courtney is a scriptwriter and author of six published novels. Her stories range from historical to near future and uncover uncomfortable (and sometimes amusing) truths about our society.
Polly never intended to become a writer; in fact she studied engineering at Cambridge. She wrote her first book, Golden Handcuffs, because she was disillusioned with her life as an investment banker and wanted to expose the reality of life in the Square Mile. Having discovered her passion, she went on to write Poles Apart, a novel based on a Polish migrant’s story. Subsequent novels have covered sexism, racism, fame culture and the summer riots, with her 2013 novel Feral Youth being described as “compelling and horrifying” by the Guardian. She is a passionate champion of the underdog and this is reflected in her novels, scripts and broadcast appearances. In late 2011, Polly famously walked out on her publisher, HarperCollins, for the ‘girly’ titles and covers assigned to her books – most notably, It’s a Man’s World, the hard-hitting take on the lads’ mag industry and its impact on society.
Polly’s film characters include Lily Parr, the UK’s greatest ever female footballer, Edith Cavell, the British Red Cross nurse who smuggled allies out of occupied Belgium in WWI, Zhu Shenghao, the impoverished man who decided to translate the complete works of Shakespeare into Chinese, and Mr X, the man who exposed Shell’s involvement in a corrupt deal to secure the rights to Nigeria’s largest untapped oil reserve. She is also working on a number of near-future TV shows that in various ways, expose the ugly side of industries such as finance, pharmaceuticals and social media.
Polly has been a regular commentator in the press and on TV and radio, with a fortnightly slot on Sky News and appearances on BBC and Channel 4 News to discuss a range of subjects including sexism, racism, youth frustration, the wealth divide, City culture and stereotypes in women’s fiction.
Much of Polly’s spare time is spent on the football pitch. She plays for her local side, Orpington Ladies, and is a firm supporter of the women’s game in the UK. Polly also plays violin in the semi-professional string quartet.