Tina Brown graduated with a master's degree from St Anne's College and is the author of two plays: Under the Bamboo Tree, performed at the Edinburgh Festival, and Happy Yellow, performed at the London fringe Bush Theater and chosen among the annual presentations by the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
She made a lifelong detour into journalism in 1973, writing for the London Sunday Times, The New Statesman and The Sunday Telegraph. Brown won the Catherine Pakenham Award for Most Promising Female Journalist of the Year in 1973. Her early writing was collected in two books: Life As a Party and Loose Talk.
Brown's editorial reputation for revitalizing publications began at Tatler magazine, then a nearly defunct, 270-year-old "society" magazine in London. Brown was named editor-in-chief in 1979, at the age of 25. During her tenure, which ended in 1983, the magazine's circulation rose by 300%. It was purchased by Condé Nast in 1982.
S.I. Newhouse, chairman of Condé Nast, invited Brown in 1983 to move to the United States to be the editor-in-chief of the recently launched and seriously ailing Vanity Fair magazine. Under her direction, from 1984 to 1992, Vanity Fair rose from a circulation of 350,000 to 1.1 million and won four National Magazine awards, including a 1989 award for General Excellence. Brown was named Advertising Age’s first Magazine Editor of the Year.
In 1992 Newhouse invited Brown to take on another big publishing challenge --revitalization of The New Yorker magazine. She was the fourth editor in the magazine's 73-year history and its first female editor.
In her six-and-a-half-year tenure, she raised circulation by 145% on the newsstand and 28% overall. The magazine was honored with four George Polk awards, five Overseas Press Club awards and 10 National Magazine awards, including a 1995 award for General Excellence, the first in the magazine's history. Brown was the first magazine editor to be honored with the National Press Foundation's Editor of the Year Award, in 1992.
Brown hired 75 new writers and editors at The New Yorker, including David Remnick, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Malcolm Gladwell, Simon Schama, Hilton Als and Philip Gourevitch. She started the publication of quarterly The New Yorker special issues, including a much-publicized "Black In America" issue, which she edited in conjunction with Gates.
In 1998, she left The New Yorker and founded Talk Media with partners Harvey Weinstein and Bob Weinstein of Miramax Films. They launched Talk magazine and the Talk Miramax Books company. Talk’s publication was suspended in January 2002 in the wake of the advertising recession following September 11th terror attacks.
Brown is married to Harold Evans, former editor of the Sunday Times of London, president of Random House and author of The American Century. They have two children, George and Isabel, and reside in New York.
In November 2000, Brown was awarded the C.B.E. (Commander of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth for her services to overseas journalism.