Welcome to Helen Dale’s scratch-pad

Given I already have a significant presence in mainstream outlets, a Substack may seem a bit surplus to requirements.

I nonetheless enjoy being able to work up ideas in advance of publication, and I miss doing it on Facebook (which is now both censorious and unusable). You’ll see things here from me before anyone else sees them elsewhere.

Professionally, I’m a lawyer as well as a writer so if I disappear for long periods it’s because I’m consulting.

Background: I’ve been a writer in a variety of outlets since 1993, and in various forms of legal practice since 2005. I’ve written three novels (the second’s cover is my logo), hundreds of thousands of words of legal and political commentary, and have been Senior Writer at Law & Liberty since January 2021. Unusually, I’m trained in both English-derived common law and Roman-derived civil law.

I have won or been shortlisted for a number of literary awards, initially in Australia and then elsewhere. I now live in the UK, in an area often described as the “Home Counties” or “Tory Shires”.

You’re welcome to take out a paid subscription below. I use this money to pay for guest posts from writers I consider interesting. Lorenzo Warby is the first of those writers. In my view, Lorenzo is a major thinker and scholar. People will be reading his stuff in 200 years. It was Lorenzo who drew Substack’s attention in 2023, when Not On Your Team, But Always Fair was a “featured publication” for the first time.

It was my turn to be featured in 2024, this time in “Substack Reads”, and for a discrete piece: one on what I’ve come to call Mutually Assured Cancellation.

Do be aware: the writing on this substack will remain unpaywalled for everyone. Exclusive content for paid subscribers is via Zoom streams and periodic pre-recorded videos.

I’m still on the demon bird app; you can find me @_HelenDale (yes, I’m a legacy blue tick; don’t judge). Lorenzo is @LorenzoFrom

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Bric-a-Brac, Curios, and Complaints from a professional irritant, novelist, and retired lawyer.


Writer, lawyer, political commentator.