Penny Flanagan

Freelance writer


Penny Flanagan

Freelance writer: opinion, humour, news and social commentary. As seen in: The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Choice Magazine,,, and


The dinner party is no longer serving its purpose

We’re all busy, so, when we want to get together, a dinner party seems the best way to kill multiple birds with one stone. But recently it has come to my attention that the dinner party as we currently know it is no longer serving its purpose. The last dinner party I attended, the hostess ended up barricading herself in the kitchen when the slow-cooked Greek lamb went awry due to a faulty oven thermometer.

Facing the divorced parent's elephant in the room

There’s an empty room down the hall. It’s got all his things in it: guitars, more pairs of Nike shoes than one boy needs, a corkboard full of photos and a well-thumbed copy of his favourite Australian novel. But he’s not there. He’s chosen, by default, to live at his dad’s house. Although, neither of us is prepared to admit that yet.

It is possible to rebuild a smashed friendship, I know because I did

Three years ago I stood outside her house looking in. The front door was open, it was a warm Sunday afternoon in spring. Her front garden smelled sweetly of jasmine. I was carrying my guitar, the way I had all those years ago as a teenager. I hesitated, not knowing if it was okay to just barge on in.

The how to work a baby guide every new parent really needs in their life

It is a fact often lamented by weary first-time parents that babies do not come with an instruction booklet. If they did come with an instruction booklet, here’s what it might say. Congratulations! You have made a person! We strongly encourage you to name this person as soon as possible: the more you delay, the harder it will become to settle on a name and the more your family and friends will:

‘I Tried The 5 Most Popular Weight Loss Regimes And Here’s What Happened’

Exercise and its daily execution is the enduring conundrum of modern life. If you are looking for the exercise regime that will suit you, this list might help you with what not to choose. People who claim to love exercise are liars. I would argue they love the results exercise brings, but the not actual execution.

Mums, the 'other woman' is not always your enemy

No matter what you think of her, there is one special reason the other women should never be your enemy. When my son turned 18, he requested an all-in dinner for his birthday. ‘All-in’ meaning: me, his brothers, his father and his stepmother. We have been divorced for seven years now and while the initial shock of how quickly men move on was stupefying, I have since realised how lucky my kids are to have another good woman in their lives.

Sex and the single mum: how to manage dating again when you have kids at home

If you are a single parent and think the terms "sex" and "single mum" don't go together, Penny Flanagan has some good news and some bad news. To be honest, after 14 years in a relationship, I was in no hurry to get into another one. I was quite happy (actually I was like a pig in mud) to spend some time by myself.


Penny Flanagan

Penny Flanagan is a Sydney-based writer. She is the author of three novels, 'Changing The Sky' (Hodder Headline, 1993) 'Sing To Me' (Penguin Books, 1998) 'Surviving Hal' (Puncher & Wattmann, 2019) and has had various short stories published in Meanjin, Imago and Picador New Writing anthologies. She is a prolific contributor to many high profile digital platforms such as - The Sydney Morning Herald,,, and Her specialty is humour and opinion but her skill is versatility: she can write in any style on any topic.



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