Melissa Benn’s latest book, Life Lessons

Melissa Benn’s features, opinion pieces, essays and reviews have appeared in the Guardian, the Times Educational Supplement,  Mslexia, Financial Times, London Review of Books, Schools Week, Women: A Cultural Review, Public Finance, Teach Secondary, New Statesman and many others.

Melissa has published nine books, including two novels Public Lives and One of Us, which was shortlisted for a British Book Award.  Her political writing includes School Wars: The Battle for Britain’s Education, an account of the development of state education over the past fifty years and powerful plea for high quality comprehensive education, and Life Lessons: The Case for a National Education Service  which provides a route map to reform.

Her writing on women’s lives includes Madonna and Child: Towards A New Politics of Motherhood  and What Should We Tell Our Daughters?: The Pleasures and Perils of Growing Up Female which was shortlisted for Politico’s Book of the Year.

Melissa was awarded the Fred and Anne Jarvis Award in 2012 for her outstanding advocacy of greater equality in education. From 2014-2018 she was Chair of the campaign group Comprehensive Future, and is a founder member of Private School Policy Reform. In 2019, she was appointed a member of the Centenary Commission on Adult Education, which reported in 2020.

A regular public speaker, debater and broadcaster, Melissa most enjoys the chance to think out loud on a range of political themes, either in talks or in conversation with open-minded others.

Melissa Benn, writer, author, novelist, campaigner, UK

Latest writing


The crisis of the meritocracy: Britain’s transition to mass education since the Second World War PETER MANDLER, 2020 Oxford: Oxford University Press 361pp, hardback, £25, ISBN 9780198840145 Cambridge historian Peter Mandler has a fundamentally optimistic story to tell about the growth of universal education in Britain over the last seventy years and one can sense… Continue reading…

Latest news & events

A Cold War Tragedy

Melissa will be in conversation with Anne Sebba about her new book, ‘Ethel Rosenberg – A Cold War Tragedy.’ Weds 15th September 2021, 5-6pm, in the Robert Graves Tent at the Wimbledon Book Festival. More information here.   Continue reading…