Melanie McDonagh

Melanie McDonagh is a leaderwriter for the Evening Standard and Spectator contributor. Irish, living in London.

A Citizens’ Assembly on climate change is the coward’s way out

2 November 2019 11:11 pm

So is it good news that Citizens’ Assemblies are to sit to decide on how best to address the issue…

Children’s literature has become horribly right-on

2 November 2019 9:00 am

There was a spat the other week about a children’s book, Equal to Everything: Judge Brenda and the Supreme Court,…

Parents and children demonstrate against the No Outsiders programme at Parkfield School in Birmingham in March [Photo: Getty]

Should Muslim parents be allowed to challenge LGBT lessons?

19 October 2019 9:00 am

We saw two different worlds, or at least two different value systems, collide in the High Court in Birmingham this…

Desert Island Discs has completely lost the plot

10 August 2019 9:00 am

There’s a cultural problem at the BBC, isn’t there? The Corporation is trying to attract under-35s — the sort who…

A child’s-eye view of the world: The Curse of the School Rabbit, by Judith Kerr, reviewed

10 August 2019 9:00 am

Is there a more perfect children’s writer for this generation than Judith Kerr? She started with a tiger — The…

The Sussexes’ complete lack of self-awareness

2 July 2019 6:30 pm

There’s no stopping the Sussexes, is there? Right after they get up everyone’s nose by saying their son’s christening is…

Boris has to get out of Camberwell

22 June 2019 8:17 pm

Well! Just when it looked like the only political question anyone would be talking about is the start of the…

The Pope is wrong to change the Lord’s Prayer

22 June 2019 9:00 am

Is the pope a Catholic? You have to wonder. In the old days, a pope’s remit was modest: infallible, but…

Why the First Wives’ Club should cut Boris a bit of slack

1 June 2019 8:18 pm

Well, very obliging of Donald Trump to back Boris Johnson – ‘a very good guy…he’d be excellent…I like him very…

Is the Guardian practising what it preaches on climate change?

2 May 2019 8:11 pm

The Guardian has an advertisement today from Sainsbury’s. Nothing wrong with that; respectable paper, respectable retailer. It’s the nature of the…

Scourge of puritans: Christian Dior with model Sylvie, c.1948

How an anarchist music student become of the fashion greats: the life of Christian Dior

9 February 2019 9:00 am

Strange to think when you visit the Christian Dior show at the V&A that his time as designer was so…

LEFT: Shirley Hughes is incapable of drawing a child who isn’t lovable. From Snow in the Garden: A First Book of Christmas. RIGHT: Edmund Dulac’s illustrations are as exquisite as a Persian miniature.From The Arabian Nights, translated by Laurence Housman

Family favourites: children’s books for Christmas reviewed

8 December 2018 9:00 am

There’s no shortage of magical rings in the children’s canon, the sort of things that usefully make you invisible or…

A new exhibition gives us the real Tolkien – not his awful legacy

7 July 2018 9:00 am

To no one’s surprise, the Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth exhibition at the Bodleian in Oxford, where J.R.R. spent so much…

Girl power – or groupthink in written form?

Who really wants to read feminist children’s books?

30 June 2018 9:00 am

A friend of mine who commissions book reviews has added a sub-category to the list of titles coming up: ‘femtrend’,…

Panel from the bedroom of Louis Henri I, Prince de Condé, by Christophe Huet

The greatest French museum you’ve never heard of

19 May 2018 9:00 am

Imagine a French museum that’s second only to the Louvre when it comes to paintings, with an eye-watering collection of…

The Catholic Church is absent in Ireland’s abortion referendum

5 May 2018 9:00 am

The Irish referendum on abortion takes place in just under three weeks’ time, and while the polls suggest a hefty…

From left to right: embroidered linen jacket, 1620s; pine marten fur hat, Caroline Reboux, 1895; man’s silk waistcoat embroidered in silk with a pattern of macaque monkeys, 1780–89

This V&A show, about fashion’s fascination with the natural world, will seduce and appal

21 April 2018 9:00 am

One of the prettiest pieces in the V&A exhibition Fashioned from Nature is a man’s cream waistcoat, silk and linen,…

Girls in the hood: traditional hairdresser in Nottingham, 1996

The captivating art, science and politics of hair: Beehives, Bobs and Blow-dries reviewed

24 February 2018 9:00 am

One of the best things about Beehives, Bobs and Blow-dries — yep, an exhibition about hairdressing — is the reaction…

Fairy tales for feisty girls

27 January 2018 9:00 am

This being the centenary of women’s suffrage, there’s an unmissable feminist aspect to children’s books right now. Stories about strong…

Bear necessities: line block print, 1970, hand coloured by E.H. Shepard

The star of the Winnie-the-Pooh show at V&A is E.H. Shepard

9 December 2017 9:00 am

The thing about Winnie-the-Pooh, 91 years old this year, is that he’s the creature of E.H. Shepard, who drew him,…

Is a Princess Meghan really such good news?

2 December 2017 9:00 am

‘The thing is,’ said my friend, after the broadcast of the engagement interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, ‘you…

Jauntily naive: illustration from Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers (HarperCollins)

A survey of this year’s children’s books sets the cat among the pigeons

2 December 2017 9:00 am

Back in 1990, Roald Dahl wrote a book called The Minpins, which was illustrated by Patrick Benson, a very good…

Cover illustration for the magazine Garm 1944, by Tove Jansson

A chance to see the Moomins’ creator for the genius she really was: Tove Janssons reviewed

18 November 2017 9:00 am

Tove Jansson, according to her niece’s husband, was a squirt in size and could rarely be persuaded to eat, preferring…

Stitches in time: detail of ‘Embroidery Design’ by May Morris, worked by May Morris and Theodosia Middlemore, c.1900

Is May Morris a feminist cause – a woman of genius unfairly overlooked?

11 November 2017 9:00 am

You may think you don’t know May Morris, daughter of William, but you’ll probably have come across her wallpaper. Her…

Abortion Demo (image: Getty)

Pregnant silence

21 October 2017 9:00 am

Brian Sewell once wrote an article about abortion headlined: ‘Women, the killers in our midst.’ He got an awful lot…