Melissa Benn

Guardian Newspaper

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My family values
Author, Gillian Slovo
The Guardian, Saturday January 17 2009

One of the greatest things I learned from my parents [anti-apartheid campaigners Ruth First and Joe Slovo] was the importance of being connected to the world and of taking responsibility for what happens in it. One of my first memories, aged six, is of my mother coming in and handing me a bag of crisps and saying, “Now you can have this.”
(Read it here)

The shift to thrift
The Guardian, Wednesday July 2 2008
“Greed blunts social compassion. The rich take too much, leaving the poor with too little. Where do we hear the case for modest living? Not in parliament. Not much from the church or the broadsheets.” These stirring words come not from a Victorian novel or disillusioned new Labour MP. Instead, they are spoken, in lilting tones with just a remaining trace of his cockney…
(Read it here)

Foreign Affairs
The Guardian, Saturday June 7 2008
A Scandalous Man by Gavin Esler 416pp, HarperCollins, £17.99

Gavin Esler, former Washington and chief North America correspondent for the BBC, now a sure-footed Newsnight presenter, knows a thing or two about power and politicians. One feels in safe hands, then, as this story opens in the spring of 2005, a lacklustre general election looming in the shadow of the…
(Read it here)

Cherie chronicles
The Guardian, Saturday May 24 2008
Speaking for Myself: The Autobiography by Cherie Blair 432pp, Little, Brown, £18.99 There’s a rank, rumbling misogyny at work in the nation’s attitude to Cherie Blair, in among the more legitimate complaints about poor taste and vast sums of money. “I’ve always hated that woman,” offered an elderly man glimpsing the book on my lap on a recent train journey. Why? …
(Read it here)

You can make it up
The Guardian, Thursday April 3 2008
‘This is really about you, right?” Every novelist is used to the autobiography question, the canny reader or critic who wants to pin down the connections between life and the page. But for me, a writer from a big, public, political family, who has just published a novel about two political families set against the background of the Blair years, the questions are proving far …
(Read it here)

Conquer’d and slain
The Guardian, Saturday March 15 2008
I first read the opening lines of The Book of Daniel, EL Doctorow’s fourth novel, 20 years ago, on a cheap package break to Portugal; the kind of holiday, pre-children, pre-serious responsibility, where you sleep 10 hours a night, drink too much red wine every evening, devour a serious novel a day and come back mysteriously changed in ways that can never quite be described.
(Read it here)

Why, when a child goes missing, does the mother take the rap?
The Guardian, Wednesday March 12 2008
Perfect mothers, it seems, are as hard to find as ever. With no significant developments in the McCann case, the media has latched with suspicious zeal on to the tragic stories of missing nine-year- old Shannon Matthews and 15-year-old Scarlett Keening, who was raped and murdered in Goa, with heavy emphasis on the moral failings of the mothers. With news filtering through …
(Read it here)

Parents: your school needs you
The Guardian, Tuesday February 12 2008
Barrie Birch, the deputy headteacher at Queens Park community school, tells a joke about parent, teacher and friends associations (PTFAs). “You know what we used to say about our old PTFA? One parent. One teacher. And it does sweet FA.” Not any longer. By any standards, parental activity at Queens Park community school (QPCS), a comprehensive in Brent, north-west London, …
(Read it here)

2 Responses to "Guardian Newspaper"

Dear Ms Benn,

I saw your piece in The Guardian regarding the Free Zarganar Rally and I’m getting in touch as we have a film called THIS PRISON WHERE I LIVE about Maung Thura coming out in the UK and thought it may be of interest to you. Please do get in touch if you’d like further information.

Kind regards

Debbie Murray

Hi there, noticed your name mentioned in an article in the Guardian about Grammar Schools. I’m a mum, who’s passionate about education and have just recently gone thro the process of tying to get my extremely bright state educated child into a grammar schools. I feel these schools should be means tested as amongst my mummy mates the only ones who were offered places were either from a private school or who had the means to pay for extensive tuition, such as £30/£40 three times a week. This is outragous. We were lucky as being Catholics, we were eligible for one of the top catholic schools in the country – the grammar schools were just a back up. Many other Mums I know however, didn’t have that luxury and this makes me cross.

If you ever need a mum passionate and knowledgable on this topic as part of your research, please feel free to give me a shout:)

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Welcome to my website. I am a writer, novelist and campaigner. Follow the link below to my latest book. Join the conversation on Twitter. Or comment on this blog......

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