Sophie McBain, The Guardian

Sophie McBain

The Guardian

New York, NY, United States

Contact Sophie

Discover and connect with journalists and influencers around the world, save time on email research, monitor the news, and more.

Start free trial

  • Unknown
  • The Guardian
  • New Statesman

Past articles by Sophie:

The big idea: are memories fact or fiction?

Truth and illusion are woven together as we tell ourselves into being → Read More

The exploitative history of Hollywood sex scenes

A new documentary explores the making of intimate nude scenes of the past – and future. → Read More

Secrets of the womb

Leah Hazard’s new book shows how this complex, life-giving muscle has been maligned and misunderstood. → Read More

The psychoactive plants that change our consciousness

It is fascinating to learn how three plant-derived drugs – caffeine, opium and mescaline – can shape society. → Read More

Desperate Remedies: A new work charts the cruel and often gruesome history of mental health treatments

The sociologist Andrew Scull acknowledges that contemporary psychiatry is more rigorous – but is it more effective? → Read More

The psychological trauma of reading the news

Is compulsively doom-scrolling and checking the news the cause of our anxiety or a symptom of it? → Read More

Reviewed in short: New books by Anil Seth, Tove Jansson and Tuulikki Pietilä, Gavin Barwell and Stanley Tucci

Being You by Seth, Notes from an Island by Jansson and Pietilä, Chief of Staff by Barwell and Taste by Tucci. → Read More

Nicky Chinn: “I’ve been fighting, one way or another, all my life”

In December, the songwriter Nicky Chinn was admitted to intensive care with pneumonia. He spent six days on a ventilator. He remembers asking a doctor if he was going to die. The doctor replied: “Not while I’m around.” “And I thought that was a great answer!” Chinn told me when we met at his home in London, six months later. He’d since been admitted to intensive care with pneumonia a second… → Read More

The baby bust: How a declining birth rate will reshape the world

We are now facing a demographic winter that will transform the way we live. → Read More

The baby bust: How a declining birth rate will reshape the world

In the days when we were still disinfecting our groceries and stockpiling loo roll, there was speculation that lockdowns might produce a baby boom: couples were stuck at home – what else was there to do? Instead, as the pandemic has worn on, maternity wards have become quieter. Birth rates have plummeted across much of Europe, the US and Asia. Provisional data for England and → Read More

The plants that change our consciousness

It is no coincidence that caffeine and the minute-hand on clocks arrived at around the same historical moment, the acclaimed food and nature writer Michael Pollan argues in his latest book, This is Your Mind on Plants. Both spread across Europe as labourers began leaving the fields, where work is organised around the sun, for the factories, where shift-workers could no longer → Read More

The Bench by Meghan Markle: It is mind-boggling how bad this book is

Who are children’s books written for? They should entertain children, of course, but the best books are enjoyable for adults to read too, because we’ll be the ones reading them, day in and day out, until we can recite the whole library by heart. The best books – the ones that parents and children bond over – are unexpected: they might have a rollicking rhyme, they might be → Read More

The vegetarian in the abattoir

Henry Mance uncovers the inconvenient truths about our treatment of animals. → Read More

Ian Wright: Home Truths is an urgent film about the damaging, insidious nature of abuse

This documentary, following the former Arsenal footballer as he confronts the abuse he experienced as a child, is one of the most affecting I have seen. → Read More

My lockdown nostalgia

How I miss the sunny lockdown mornings of late spring last year, when I frogmarched my two children to the park to watch the goslings in the pond. → Read More

Olivia Laing’s Everybody is a sprawling meditation on freedom and the body

By blending memoir, art criticism and biography, Laing explores how the body you are born into shapes your life, your freedom and your opportunities. → Read More

Is lockdown wrecking our eyesight?

Excessive screen time during the pandemic is leading to a dramatic increase in eyestrain complaints. → Read More

Mourning and melancholia: the psychological shadow-pandemic

Why the Covid crisis is the biggest hit to mental health since the Second World War. → Read More

Should we worry that the pandemic has made us socially awkward?

The loneliness of lockdown has weakened our social skills, but there is reason to believe they will recover. → Read More

How we misunderstand depression

Psychological condition or biological disease? Three new books examine the causes and cures of an endemic mental health problem. → Read More