Columnist Suzanne Moore considers the art of opinion writing in an occasional series in which Guardian journalists discuss their work and its impact

When did it become clear you were a columnist?

I had a life before my career in journalism, which I didn’t really start till I was about 30. That life means I have always regarded hackery as an unlikely and temporary job, which I think stands me in good stead. Having left school at 16, I had gone to college in my mid-twenties and had a baby. I embarked on a PhD but was frustrated by the idea that only three people would read it. So I started writing for the lefty/feminist magazines that were around in the late 80s. The academic world seemed not to appreciate my popularising of the ideas that interested me but I started to get paid. My grant ran out so that mattered. For a while, I was an editor at Marxism Today, which taught me that I wanted to write rather than edit. Some people are brilliant at both but, once I had an idea, I wanted to hog it and pursue it myself so I realised I was very much a writer type.

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