Alan Bennett’s third collection of prose Keeping On Keeping On follows in the footsteps of the phenomenally successful Writing Home and Untold Stories, each published ten years apart. This latest collection contains Bennett’s peerless diaries 2005 to 2015, reflecting on a decade that saw four premieres at the National Theatre (The Habit of Art, People, Hymn and Cocktail Sticks), a West End double-bill transfer, and the films of The History Boys and The Lady in the Van. There’s a provocative sermon on private education given before the University at King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, and ‘Baffled at a Bookcase’ offers a passionate defence of the public library.
‘I seem to have banged on this year rather more than usual. I make no apology for that, nor am I nervous that it will it make a jot of difference. I shall still be thought to be kindly, cosy and essentially harmless. I am in the pigeon-hole marked ‘no threat’ and did I stab Judi Dench with a pitchfork I should still be a teddy bear.’
The book includes ‘Denmark Hill’, a darkly comic radio play set in suburban south London, as well as Bennett’s reflections on a quarter of a century’s collaboration with Nicholas Hytner. This is an engaging, humane, sharp, funny and unforgettable record of life according to the inimitable Alan Bennett.
Publisher: Profile Books
A new collection of Alan Bennett’s diaries and more
About the Author
Alan Bennett has been one of our leading dramatists since the success of Beyond the Fringe in the 1960s. His television series Talking Heads has become a modern-day classic, as have many of his works for the stage.
One of the National Theatre’s most successful productions ever, The History Boys won numerous awards including Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle awards for Best Play, an Olivier for the Best New Play and the South Bank Award. His collection of prose Writing Home was a number one bestseller. Untold Stories won the PEN/Ackerley Prize for autobiography, 2006. Recent works of fiction are The Uncommon Reader and Smut: Two Unseemly Stories. The film of The Lady in the Van starring Maggie Smith was released in 2015, and a new edition of his book of the same name a #1 bestseller for nine weeks.
Cleverer and funnier than any one person has a right to be … inexhaustibly fascinating; Bennett has an eager, enquiring mind and a sharp way with words that can break your ideas open. ( Sunday Times)
Is able to make the world dance with a single word … On every page there is a phrase to make you smile, poetry disguised as comedy. (Craig Brown Mail on Sunday)
Few diarists could offer such a consistently funny and touching authorial voice as Bennett. Long may he keep on keeping on. (Ben Lawrence Daily Telegraph 2016-11-10)
Wry and eloquent … screamingly funny… his sentences are always beautiful. (Miranda Sawyer Observer 2016-10-02)
There is no other writer, certainly none from any other era or nation, quite like Alan Bennett, and having this much more of his work is an uncovenanted blessing. (David Sexton Evening Standard)
It is not only Bennett’s claws that are sharp. So are his eyes … confirms his reputation as one of the sharpest and funniest writers in the English language. (Robert Douglas-Fairhurst Spectator)
There is not a dull or uninteresting page here … teddy bear he may be but he has a tiger’s teeth. ( The Herald)
An endlessly rewarding read by a man for all seasons and one who occupies a unique place in our culture and affections. (Liz Thomson The Arts Desk)
A fascinating exercise in modern history … a superb collection, written from the unique perspective of an octogenarian at the top of his stylistic game, with a keen eye towards the past we have lost and the future we may yet inhabit. ( Daily Express)
PRAISE FOR ALAN BENNETT:
‘Alan Bennett, with his combination of pitiless observation and gentle understatement, is perhaps the best-loved of English writers alive today
( Sunday Telegraph)
Intelligent, educated, engaging, humane, self-aware, cantankerous and irresistibly funny (John Carey Sunday Times)
Not only my book of the year, it is my book of the decade (Nigel Slater on UNTOLD STORIES)
Alan Bennett’s work, which stands as one of the major achievements across several genres in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, demands the very best of us: not our praise but our attention. (Ian Samson TLS 2016-10-12)