Born in New England in 1946, Donna Dickenson obtained her BA in Political Science from Wellesley College and her MSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics. After leaving the United States in protest against the Vietnam War, she settled in England, where her son and daughter were born. In addition to her academic posts, she has worked in a court reform project in New York City, a futurology institute, and the main New York newsroom of the Associated Press.
Most of her career, however, has been devoted to ‘second chance’ education for adults who lacked the opportunity to get a university education: she spent 22 years as a lecturer and counsellor at the Open University and now holds a professorship in Medical Ethics and Humanities at Birkbeck, University of London. She has also held positions as Reader, Imperial College School of Medicine, University of London, and John Ferguson Professor of Global Ethics, University of Birmingham. Dickenson has written some twenty books and sixty articles, with her wide range of publications including not only medical ethics and law but also literary biography, poetry, radio drama and a novel. Her current work centres on the important issues in ethics, law and politics about the commodification of the human body and patenting of the human genome. Married to the flautist Christopher Britton, she lives in a village near Oxford.