Molly Guinness

Molly Guinness is The Spectator's archivist.

Elif Shafak’s Three Daughters of Eve agonise over religion, identity, freedom and feminism

4 February 2017 9:00 am

It’s terribly difficult to write a novel about soul-searching, and Elif Shafak has come up with a rather clever device…

Life doesn’t care if your misery has a plot – but readers do

24 January 2015 9:00 am

Sometimes writers have to get a memoir out of their system before they can start on their great novel. Will…

Lolita's secret revenge mission, and other daft theories of literary spite

25 October 2014 9:00 am

Richard Bradford has written more than 20 books of literary criticism and biography. This latest one is a compendium of…

Girls sitting South Korea’s famously competitive university entrance test. North London Collegiate offers IBs instead

Escape from the hothouse

6 September 2014 9:00 am

Molly Guinness visits the British school that’s giving Korean children a more rounded alternative to their country’s fearsome exam culture

Lillian Hellman lied her way through life

5 July 2014 9:00 am

Lillian Hellman must be a maddening subject for a biographer. The author Mary McCarthy’s remark that ‘every word she writes…

Sugata Mitra interview: ‘A reduction in resources can cause something nice to happen’

10 May 2014 9:00 am

Children can teach each other, believes Sugata Mitra — if you give them the internet, a big screen and a helpful granny on Skype

From Göring to Hemingway, via Coco Chanel – the dark glamour of the Paris Ritz at war

19 April 2014 9:00 am

In Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen did a good job of showing how foolish it is to be obsessed by…

What nannies know

14 December 2013 9:00 am

Soon after moving to London at the age of 20, Nina Stibbe wrote to her sister Vic saying, ‘Being a…

Darling Monster, edited by John Julius Norwich - review

12 October 2013 9:00 am

It must have been awful for Diana and Duff Cooper to be separated from their only child during the war,…

The best teachers make you fall in love with a subject

7 September 2013 9:00 am

Molly Guinness on those teachers everyone remembers

Death by Dior, by Terry Cooper - review

10 August 2013 9:00 am

This book may sound like it’s going to be about high fashion, but it’s actually about Nazism, satanism, incest and…

The Girl from Station X, by Elisa Segrave - review

29 June 2013 9:00 am

On her seventh birthday, Elisa Segrave’s five-year-old brother Raymond drowned in their grandmother’s swimming pool. From that day onwards, her…

Daniel Radcliffe: why are the leaders of our political parties so uninspiring?

22 June 2013 9:00 am

Former Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe on Che, Noam Chomsky, giving up drink and being ‘frighteningly thorough’

Hairstyles Ancient and Present, by Charlotte Fiell - review

8 June 2013 9:00 am

The key thing in 18th-century France was to get the hair extremely high. Perching on a small ladder behind his…

We must save the bread-and-butter letter from extinction

4 May 2013 9:00 am

Platitudes by post are not worth the stamp

'Diana Vreeland', by Amanda Mackenzie Stuart - review

9 March 2013 9:00 am

Over 80 and almost blind, Diana Vreeland was wheeled around a forthcoming costume exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum, issuing instructions…

Women, beware these women

5 January 2013 9:00 am

When Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider read this review, they’ll exchange a pitying smile and quietly start waiting for my…

Slippery slopes

3 November 2012 9:00 am

Being sent to finishing school in Bavaria in 1936 was a dream for some English girls: there were winter sports…

The whole kitchen caboodle

27 October 2012 9:00 am

Pretentious, effeminate, sinister and even obscene, the fork of folktale was a sign of loose morals, silly decadence or sexual…

Applying myself

22 September 2012 9:00 am

The ‘personal statements’ on university admissions forms are rarely the student’s own work. I have written enough of them to know

Finery down to a fine art

22 September 2012 9:00 am

The Impressionists adored clothes. They delighted in strapontins, polonaises and paletots; fans, hats and umbrellas were an extra treat. They…

A Valparaiso romance

30 June 2012 6:00 am

More than 150 years after her last publication, the narrator of this novel, the travel writer Maria Callcott, has taken…

The attraction of repulsion

31 March 2012 11:00 am

Take some boiled maize, chew it, spit it out, put the mixture into an urn, bury it, dig it up…

Ecoutez bien!

18 February 2012 10:00 am

The French make it look easy: small babies sleep through the night, toddlers calmly eat four-course lunches, well-dressed mothers chat…

Don’t mention the war

10 December 2011 10:00 am

It wasn’t easy being the daughter of the artist Avigdor Arikha. In this memoir, Alba Arikha mixes teenage fury with…