Writing Home

Alan Bennett




Trade Paperback

688 Pages


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Bringing together the hilarious, revealing, and lucidly intelligent writing of one of England's best-known literary figures, Writing Home includes the journalism, book and theater reviews, and diaries of Alan Bennett, as well as "The Lady in the Van," his unforgettable account of Miss Shepherd, a London eccentric who lived in a van in Bennett's garden for more than twenty years. This revised and updated edition includes new material from the author including more recent diaries and his introduction to his Oscar-nominated screenplay for The Madness of King George. A chronicle of one of the most important literary careers of the twentieth century, Writing Home is a classic history of a life in letters.


Praise for Writing Home

"[A] wonderful book, the wit of which spills over even into the index . . . There's so much here . . . [Bennett] is angry, hilariously self-pitying, and he writes beautifully."—The Times

"Brilliantly perceptive . . . If anyone wants to define the distinctive Englishness of English writing, they can find it all in this book—modesty, irony, self-deprecating wit, and supremely good observation."—The Daily Telegraph

"A classic performance."—The Times Literary Supplement

"The book [contains] perhaps the funniest piece ever written about the theater . . . Marvelous, marvelous, marvelous."—The Independent

"Irresistibly well written, wry, witty . . . Every sentence a pleasure . . . Humane, observant, and sharply intelligent."—The Sunday Times

"A literary gem."—Booklist

"Bennett, the playwright whose works include Forty Years On (1968) and An Englishman Abroad (1983), here brings together reminiscences of family and friends, character sketches of literary figures and famous people (e.g., Sir John Gielgud, John Osborne, Innes Lloyd), extracts from his diaries, and prefaces to some of his better-known plays. Some of the pieces were begun as radio talks for the BBC or published in the London Review of Books. Bennett touches on English society and literary life, the occupational hazards of writing plays, and writing for television vs. writing for the stage. He is an astute, erudite commentator, and there is much to chuckle over, including his thoughts on English eccentricity, rehearsals, and his hilarious experiences of 'going round' after a performance. Anglophiles of all stripes will enjoy this book; highly recommended for serious collections in modern British literature and theater."—Lesley Jorbin, Cleveland State University Library, Library Journal

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt

The Treachery of Books‘What you want to be’, Mam said to my brother and me, ‘is gentlemen farmers. They earn up to £10 a week.’ This was in Leeds some time in the early years of the war, when my father, a butcher at Armley Lodge Road Co-op, was getting £6 a week and they thought themselves not badly off. So it’s not the modesty of my mother’s aspirations that seems surprising now but the direction. Why gentlemen farmers? And the answer, of course, was books.
We had, it’s true, had some experience of a farm. I was five when the war started,
Read the full excerpt


  • Alan Bennett

  • Alan Bennett is a renowned playwright and essayist, whose screenplay for The Madness of King George was nominated for an Academy Award. He is also the author of The Laying On of Hands and The Clothes They Stood Up In. He lives London, England
  • Alan Bennett Hugo Glendinning
    Alan Bennett