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Madeleine Clare J. Bunting (born March 1964) is an English writer. She was formerly an associate editor and columnist at The Guardian newspaper. She is a regular broadcaster for the BBC. Her series on the loss of faith, The Retreating Roar, was broadcast on BBC Radio Three in 2015 and she is working on a series of five essays on the ethic of care to be broadcast early in 2016. [1][needs update]

Life and careerEdit

Bunting was born Clare Bunting in Oswaldkirk, North Yorkshire, the daughter of Romola Jane (Farquharson) and sculptor John Bunting, who taught drawing at the Catholic independent school Ampleforth College.[2] Her ancestry is English, Irish, Scottish, and, through her maternal grandmother, Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jewish.[3] The fourth of five children, Madeleine was the youngest daughter from John and Romola's marriage; the couple separated in 1978.[4] She was educated at Richmond Convent, North Yorkshire, and Brighton, Hove & Sussex VI Form College, followed by Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and then Harvard University, where Bunting read History, and received a Knox postgraduate fellowship to study Politics and to teach.

After a period working for Brook Productions (1988–89) Bunting joined The Guardian newspaper in 1990.[5] Her posts at the newspaper over the years were as a news reporter, leader writer, religious affairs editor, associate editor and regular columnist.

Bunting was appointed director of the London-based think tank Demos in June 2006 and took up her position at the beginning of September. The following month she resigned, owing to differences with the trustees over the direction of the organisation. Bunting returned to her old position at The Guardian and wrote a history of an area where she grew up.[6] Bunting left The Guardian in 2013.[5]

The Plot was published by Granta in 2010. The book is partly a memoir of her father and partly an account of the chapel he built on an acre plot of land in North Yorkshire.[7][8] Love Of Country: A Hebridean Journey, published in 2016, concerns visits Bunting made to the Hebrides. It received positive reviews in The Scotsman and The Guardian.[9][10]


Bunting is known for her advocacy of religious belief from a liberal position and her rejection of atheism; she argues that new atheists' antipathy to religion makes it impossible for them to criticise it effectively.[11]

Bunting has been very critical of abuse committed within the Catholic Church in Ireland[12] and elsewhere in the world. She believes the moral authority of the Roman Catholic Church is irreversibly compromised.[13]

Personal lifeEdit

Bunting was formerly married to Patrick Wintour of The Guardian.[14]


  • The Model Occupation: The Channel Islands Under German Rule, 1940-45, HarperCollins (1995) ISBN 0-00-255242-6 (reprint (2004) Pimlico, ISBN 1-84413-086-X)
  • Willing Slaves: How the Overwork Culture is Ruling Our Lives, HarperCollins (2004) ISBN 978-0-00-716372-4
  • The Plot: A Biography of an English Acre, Granta Books (2009) ISBN 978-1-84708-085-1
  • Love Of Country: A Hebridean Journey, Granta (2016) ISBN 978-1847085177
  • Island Song, Granta (2019) ISBN 9781783784615


  1. ^ Honnor, Julius (23 February 2016). "Madeleine Bunting". Bond. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  2. ^ Cocker, Mark (31 October 2009). "The Plot: A Biography of an English Acre by Madeleine Bunting". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ "Obituaries: Ampleforth Journal". John Bunting website. 2010. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Madeleine Bunting". Granta. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  6. ^ Stephen Brook "Bunting returns to the Guardian", The Guardian website, 19 October 2006. Retrieved on 9 May 2007.
  7. ^ Bunting, Madeleine (10 October 2009). "Land of my father". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  8. ^ Kellaway, Kate (18 October 2009). "The Plot by Madeleine Bunting". The Observer. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  9. ^ Kelly, Stuart (3 November 2016). "Book review: Love of Country, by Madeleine Bunting". The Scotsman. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  10. ^ Liptrot, Amy (23 November 2016). "Love of Country: A Hebridean Journey review – the edge of Europe". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  11. ^ Madeleine Bunting "The New Atheists loathe religion far too much to plausibly challenge it", The Guardian, 7 May 2007. Retrieved on 9 May 2007.
  12. ^ An abuse too far by the Catholic church
  13. ^ An inquiry is vital, but the church's moral authority is lost for ever
  14. ^ Oppenheimer, Jerry (2005). "Front Row: Anna Wintour: The Cool Life and Hot Times of Vogue's Editor in Chief". New York City: St Martin's Press. p. 346.

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