Alan Bennett

Writer

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Books

Assistant : Florence Hyde

Film, TV & Theatre

Agent: Anthony Jones
Assistant: Danielle Walker
Agent: Nicki Stoddart
Theatre (UK & Foreign) & Publications

Books

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, including "Forty Years On", "The Lady In The Van", "A Question of Attribution", "The Madness of George III" (together with the Oscar-nominated screenplay "The Madness of King George") and an adaptation of Kenneth Grahame's "The Wind in the Willows". At the National Theatre, "The History Boys" won Evening Standard, Critics' Circle and Olivier awards, and the South Bank Award. On Broadway it won five New York Drama Desk Awards, four Outer Critics' Circle Awards, a New York Drama Critics' Award for Best Play, a New York Drama League Award and six Tonys including Best Play. The film of "The History Boys" was released in 2006. Alan Bennett's collection of prose, "Untold Stories", won the PEN/ Ackerley Prize for Autobiography in 2006. He was also named Reader's Digest Author of the Year. Alan’s most recent publication,   "Six Poets: Hardy to Larkin",   is a selection of English verse by his favourite poets. The Lady in the Van, based on his play of the same name, has been adapted into a feature film and was released in November 2015. 

RECENT PUBLICATION

THE LADY IN THE VAN

 

 

Fiction

Publication DetailsNotes
2007

Faber & Faber

Had the dogs not taken exception to the strange van parked in the royal grounds, the Queen might never have learnt of the Westminster travelling library’s weekly visits to the palace. But finding herself at its steps, she goes up to apologise for all the yapping and ends up taking out a novel by Ivy Compton-Burnett, last borrowed in 1989. Duff read though it proves to be, upbringing demands she finish it and, so as not to appear rude, she withdraws another. This second, more fortunate choice of book awakens in Her Majesty a passion for reading so great that her public duties begin to suffer.

And so, as she devours work by everyone from Hardy to Brookner to Proust to Samuel Beckett, her equerries conspire to bring the Queen's literary odyssey to a close.

Subversive and highly enjoyable, The Uncommon Reader offers the perfect argument for reading, written by one of its great champions, Alan Bennett.

"A masterpiece of comic brevity" Robert McCrum, The Observer)

"An exquisitely produced jewel of a book...[but] beneath the tasteful gilt-and-beige cover seethes a savagely Swiftian indignation against stupidity, Philistinism and arrogance in public places, and a passionate argument for the civilising power of art." (Jane Shilling, The Times)

"In recounting this story of a ruler who becomes a reader, a monarch who’d rather write than reign, Mr. Bennett has written a captivating fairy tale ... a tale that showcases its author’s customary élan and keen but humane wit." (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times)

Non-Fiction

Publication DetailsNotes
2015

Profile Books

In 1974, the homeless Miss Shepherd moved her broken down van into Alan Bennett's garden. Deeply eccentric and stubborn to her bones, Miss Shepherd was not an easy tenant. And Bennett, despite inviting her in the first place, was a reluctant landlord. And yet she lived there for fifteen years. This account of those years was first published in 1989 in the London Review of Books. The play premiered in 1999, directed by Nicholas Hytner and starring Dame Maggie Smith, who reprise their roles in this new film adaptation. Shot on location at Bennett's house, Alex Jennings plays the author, alongside household names including Frances de la Tour, Jim Broadbent and Dominic Cooper.

2014

Faber and Faber

Writers like to elude their public, lead them a bit of a dance. They take them down untrodden paths, land them in unknown country where they have to ask for directions.

In this personal anthology, Alan Bennett has chosen over seventy poems by six well-loved poets, discussing the writers and their verse in his customary conversational style through anecdote, shrewd appraisal and spare but telling biographical detail. Ranging from hidden treasures to famous poems, this is a collection for the beginner and the expert alike. Speaking with candour about his own reactions to the work, Alan Bennett creates profound and witty portraits of Thomas Hardy, A. E. Housman, John Betjeman, W. H. Auden, Louis MacNeice and Philip Larkin, all the more enjoyable for being in his own particular voice.

Anybody writing poetry in the thirties had somehow to come to terms with Auden. Auden, you see, had got a head start on the other poets. He'd got into the thirties first, like someone taking over the digs.

2009

Faber & Faber

Taken from Untold Stories

`A beautiful little book, full of love regret and the dignity of unremarkable lives.' --Daily Mail

`This poignant memoir is Bennett at his superlative best.' --Val Hennessy

2005

Faber & Faber

The very best of Alan Bennett`s non-fiction writing from the last nine years including significant unpublished work: memoirs, essays, reviews and more. The title piece is a poignant memoir of his family and of growing up in Leeds. Also included are his celebrated diaries for the years 1996-2004. "I have never read a book of this length where I have turned the last page with such regret. It is intelligent, educated, engaging, humane, self-aware, cantankerous and irresistably funny. You want it to go on forever." (The Sunday Times) "Throughout this autobiography runs a belief in good sense, tolerance and clemency, along with a real depth of sentiment, clothed in the language of brilliant and witty perspecuity which gives these 658 pages an enduring claim to respect." (Cal McCrystal, The Independent on Sunday) "This thick book is so full of good things they could sell it for twice the price." (Sam Leith, The Daily Telegraph) * "The Week" magazine Book of the Year based on coverage in the national broadsheets, the TLS, The Mail on Sunday, The Spectator and The New Statesman.

2004

Faber & Faber

This is a collection of diaries, recollections and book reviews - including several old favourites - which work as a whole to create a portrait of the writer.
"Throughout this autobiography runs a belief in good sense, tolerance and clemency, along with a real depth of sentiment, clothed in the language of brilliant and witty perspecuity which gives these 658 pages an enduring claim to respect." (Cal McCrystal, The Independent on Sunday)
"This thick book is so full of good things they could sell it for twice the price." (Sam Leith, The Daily Telegraph)

* "The Week" magazine Book of the Year based on coverage in the national broadsheets, the TLS, The Mail on Sunday, The Spectator and The New Statesman.

2000

BBC Books

A set of ten autobiographical tales from Bennett, dealing with his childhood and upbringing in Leeds during the 1940s.

Other

Publication DetailsNotes

THE HISTORY BOYS: Screenplay

2006

FABER AND FABER

The script, Alan Bennett`s diary of the shoot and stills from the feature film, with an introduction by director Nick Hytner.

THE LAYING ON OF HANDS

2001

PROFILE BOOKS

Clive had died young and in Peru and the circumstances make some of his distinguished friends uneasy.

FATHER FATHER BURNING BRIGHT

2000

PROFILE BOOKS

A bittersweet comedy of manners based on the humdrum existence of Denis Midgley, an ineffectual schoolteacher who is abruptly pulled from a parent's evening to be told that his father is dying.

THE LADY IN THE VAN (PLAY)

1999

FABER AND FABER

TALKING HEADS 2

1998

BBC BOOKS

Characterized by the author's understatement, observation and knowing irony, these six Alan Bennett monologues were written for the second BBC1 series of "Talking Heads".

THE CLOTHES THEY STOOD UP IN

1998

FABER & FABER

Maurice and Rosemary Ransome, a typically dissatisfied, middle-aged couple, return from a performance of Cosi fanTutte to find that everything has disappeared. There is a limit to what burglars can take: they seldom take easy chairs, for example, and even more seldom settees. These burglars did. They took everything.....

A CREAM CRACKER UNDER THE SETTEE (PLAY)

1998

SAMUEL FRENCH

SAY SOMETHING HAPPENED (PLAY)

1996

SAMUEL FRENCH

BED AMONG THE LENTILS (PLAY)

1996

SAMUEL FRENCH

THE MADNESS OF KING GEORGE III

1995

FABER & FABER

The screenplay for the film of the same name

SOLDIERING ON (PLAY)

1995

SAMUEL FRENCH

SINGLE SPIES (PLAY)

1991

FABER & FABER

KAFKA'S DICK (PLAY)

1990

SAMUEL FRENCH

THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS (PLAY)

1990

FABER & FABER

INTENSIVE CARE

1989

PEARSON

OBJECTS OF AFFECTION

1988

BBC BOOKS

TALKING HEADS

1988

BBC BOOKS

Six monologues written for television, each in its own way reflecting Alan Bennett's observant view of the British way of life.

FORTY YEARS ON (PLAY)

1989

SAMUEL FRENCH

HER BIG CHANCE (PLAY)

1988

SAMUEL FRENCH

PRICK UP YOUR EARS (PLAY)

1987

FABER & FABER

TWO KAFKA PLAYS (PLAY)

1987

FABER & FABER

THE OLD COUNTRY (PLAY)

1977

SAMUEL FRENCH

GETTING ON (PLAY)

1970

SAMUEL FRENCH

102 BOULEVARD HAUSMANN

BBC BOOKS

HABEAS CORPUS (PLAY)

1976

SAMUEL FRENCH

Film, TV & Theatre

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, including FORTY YEARS ON, THE LADY IN THE VAN, A QUESTION OF ATTRIBUTION, THE MADNESS OF GEORGE III" (together with the Oscar-nominated screenplay THE MADNESS OF KING GEORGE and an adaptation of Kenneth Grahame's THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS. At the National Theatre, THE HISTORY BOYS won Evening Standard, Critics' Circle and Olivier awards, and the South Bank Award. On Broadway it won five New York Drama Desk Awards, four Outer Critics' Circle Awards, a New York Drama Critics' Award for Best Play, a New York Drama League Award and six Tonys including Best Play. The film of THE HISTORY BOYS was released in 2006. Alan Bennett's play, THE HABIT OF ART, toured successfully after its run at The National Theatre.   Bath Theatre Royal's production of THE MADNESS OF GEORGE III (starring David Haig) toured the UK and then transferred to the Apollo Theatre, London in 2012.

PEOPLE opened at the National Theatre in 2012 and toured thereafter.  His two short plays, HYMN and COCKTAIL STICKS (UNTOLD STORIES) opened at the National Theatre the same year and then transferred to the Duchess Theatre, London.

Alan's latest play ALLELUJAH! has just opened at The Bridge Theatre.

Film

ProductionCompanyNotes

THE LADY IN THE VAN

2015

BBC Films / Tristar Productions

Adapted from his stage play
Director Nicholas Hytner
Producers: Damian Jones, Kevin Loader
with Maggie Smith, Alex Jennings & Jim Broadbent

THE HISTORY BOYS

2006

BBC / Fox Searchlight Pictures / DNA Films

Adapted from his play
Director Nicholas Hytner
Producers: Damian Jones, Kevin Loader, Nicholas Hytner
with Richard Griffiths, Frances de la Tour, Dominic Cooper, Samuel Barnett
* Nominated for Best Screenplay, BIFA Awards 2006

THE MADNESS OF KING GEORGE

1994

Samuel Goldwyn Productions

Screenplay adapted from his own play
Director: Nicholas Hytner
Producer: Stephen Evans
with Nigel Hawthorne, Helen Mirren
* Winner of WGGB Best Screenplay Award, 1995
* Nominated for an Oscar Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, 1995
* Nominated for a BAFTA for Best Adapted Screenplay, 1996
* Winner of LCCFA British Screenwriter of the Year, 1996
* Nominated for WGA Best Screenplay Award, 1995

PRICK UP YOUR EARS

1987

Zenith Productions

Screenplay adapted from the book by John Lahr
Producer: Andrew Brown
Director: Stephen Frears
with Gary Oldman, Alfred Molina, Vanessa Redgrave, Julie Walters
* Nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay Award, BAFTA 1988
* Winner LCCFA Screenwriter of the Year Award, 1988

A PRIVATE FUNCTION

1984

Handmade Films

Original screenplay
Director: Malcolm Mowbray
Producer: Mark Shivas
with Michael Palin, Maggie Smith, Denholm Elliot
* Nominated for Best Original Screenplay, BAFTA Awards 1985
* Nominated for Best Film Award, BAFTA Awards 1985
* Winner LCCFA Screenwriter of the Year, 1986

Television

ProductionCompanyNotes

TALKING HEADS II:

1998

Slow Motion Ltd / BBC

Miss Fozzard Finds Her Feet, The Hand of God, Playing Sandwiches, The Outside Dog, Nights in the Gardens of Spain, Waiting for the Telegram
Directors: Stuart Burge, Patrick Garland, Gavin Millar, Tristram Powell, Udayan Prasad
Producer: Mark Shivas
with Patricia Routledge, Eileen Atkins, David Haig, Julie Walters, Penelope Wilton, Thora Hird
* Nominated for Best Single Drama BAFTA Award, 1999

TELLING TALES x 10

Slow Motion Ltd / BBC

A QUESTION OF ATTRIBUTION

1992

BBC

Director: John Schlesinger
Producer: Innes Lloyd
with James Fox, Geoffrey Palmer, Prunella Scales
* Winner of Best Single Drama BAFTA, 1991

102 BOULEVARD HAUSSMANN

1991

BBC

Director: Udayan Prasad
Producer: Innes Lloyd
with Alan Bates, Paul Rhys, Janet McTeer

TALKING HEADS:

1987

BBC

A Cream Cracker Under the Settee, A Chip in the Sugar, Soldiering On, A Lady of Letters, Bed Among the Lentils, Her Big Chance
Directors: Stuart Burge, Giles Foster
Producer: Innes Lloyd
with Steven Beard, Alan Bennett, Stephanie Cole, Thora Hird, Patricia Routledge, Maggie Smith, Julie Walters

THE INSURANCE MAN

1986

BBC

Director: Richard Eyre
Producer: Innes Lloyd
with Trevor Peacock

OUR WINNIE

1982

BBC

Director: Malcolm Mowbray
with Elizabeth Spriggs, Leslie Manville, Jim Broadbent

A DAY OUT

1972

BBC

Director: Stephen Frears
wtih Brian Glover, Bernard Wrigley, John Normington

A LITTLE OUTING

1977

BBC

Director: Brian Tufano

A VISIT FROM MISS PROTHERO

1978

BBC

Director: Stephen Frears
with Hugh Lloyd, Patricia Routledge

A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE

1982

BBC

Director: Giles Foster
Producer: Innes Lloyd
with Patricia Routledge

AN ENGLISHMAN ABROAD

1983

BBC

Director: John Schlesinger
Producer: Innes Lloyd
with Alan Bates

MARKS

1982

BBC

Director: Piers Haggard
with Marjorie Yates

INTENSIVE CARE

1982

BBC

Director: Gavin Millar
Producer: Innes Lloyd
with Thora Hird, Alan Bennett, Derek Fowlds

OBJECTS OF AFFECTION

1982

BBC

Producer: Innes Lloyd

ROLLING HOME

1982

BBC

Director: Piers Haggard
with John Barrett, Maureen Lipman

SAY SOMETHING HAPPENED

1982

BBC

Director: Malcolm Mowbray
Producer: Innes Lloyd

AFTERNOON OFF

1979

LWT

Director/Producer: Stephen Frears
with Alan Bennett, Thora Hird

ALL DAY ON THE SANDS

1979

LWT

Director: Giles Foster
Producer: Stephen Frears
with Alun Armstrong

ONE FINE DAY

1979

LWT

Director: Stephen Frears
with Dave Allen

THE OLD CROWD

1979

LWT

Producer: Stephen Frears
Director: Lindsay Anderson
with Julian Fellowes

DORIS AND DOREEN

1978

LWT

Director: Stephen Frears
with Pete Postlethwaite, Patricia Routledge, Prunella Scales

ME! I'M AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF

1978

LWT

Director: Stephen Frears
with Thora Hird, Alan Bennett, Julie Walters, Derek Thompson

SUNSET ACROSS THE BAY

1975

LWT

Director: Brian Tufano

BEYOND THE FRINGE

1964

BBC

Co-written with and starring Peter Cook, Jonathan Miller, Dudley Moore

Theatre

ProductionCompanyNotes

TALKING HEADS

2015

TRB Productions

Theatre Royal Bath & tour