Alan Bennett Books & Bio. Cheap Books by Alan Bennett. Book People
Born in Leeds on 9 May, 1934, Alan Bennett is a playwright, screenwriter, actor and author. He studied history at Exeter College, Oxford and then worked with the likes of Dudley Moore, Jonathan Miller and Peter Cook before producing his first stage play, Forty Years On, in 1968.
Alan is also the creator of The Madness of George III, The History Boys, The Lady in the Van and the monologues that made up Talking Heads. He has declined a knighthood and a CEO. Alan has won many prestigious awards and has written nearly 50 TV play, over 20 stage plays, 13 films and over 30 books.
Alan Bennett Books
"The Uncommon Reader" is none other than HM the Queen who drifts accidentally into reading when her corgis stray into a mobile library parked at Buckingham Palace. She reads widely ( JR Ackerley, Jean Genet, Ivy Compton Burnett and the classics) and intelligently. Her reading naturally changes her world view and her relationship with people like the oleaginous prime minister and his repellent advisers. She comes to question the prescribed order of the world and loses patience with much that she has to do. In short, her reading is subversive. The consequence is, of course, surprising, mildly shocking and very funny.
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AAGNC 14 years +14 years +
An unruly bunch of bright, funny sixth-form boys in pursuit of sex, sport and a place at university. A maverick English teacher at odds with the young and shrewd supply teacher. A headmaster obsessed with results; a history teacher who thinks he's a fool. In Alan Bennett's new play, staff room rivalry and the anarchy of adolescence provoke insistent questions about history and how you teach it; about education and its purpose.
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Being an award-winning dramatist and screenwriter, Alan Bennett certainly has plenty of interesting experiences to recount. Untold Stories is a collection of stories and diary entries that recall periods of the Leeds-born writer?s upbringing and professional life. Full of wonderful witty observations and insight, this book leaves no secrets unrevealed and contains all the droll, waspish and at times bitter humour that Bennett is known for. A vast and fascinating book, perfect for fans of the great man or his work.
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This title features unexpected tales from the master of short fiction. "The Shielding of Mrs Forbes". Graham Forbes is a disappointment to his mother, who thinks that if he must have a wife, he should have done better. Though her own husband isn't all that satisfactory either. Still, this is Alan Bennett, so what is happening in the bedroom (and in lots of other places too) is altogether more startling, perhaps shocking, and ultimately more true to people's predilections. "The Greening of Mrs Donaldson". Mrs. Donaldson is a conventional middle-class woman beached on the shores of widowhood after a marriage that had been much like many others: happy to begin with, then satisfactory and finally dull. But when she decides to take in two lodgers, her mundane life becomes much more stimulating...
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The complete audio collection of Alan Bennett's celebrated monologues, published together for the first time and performed by some of Britain's best actors. The Talking Heads monologues are widely regarded as one of Alan Bennett's finest dramatic achievements. First broadcast on BBC TV and BBC Radio 4 in the 1980s and 1990s, they won a host of awards and huge popular acclaim, and remain among his most admired works today. This collection includes all twelve Talking Heads, plus the precursor of that series, A Woman of No Importance. Beautifully crafted and full of compassion and wry observation, each tale is ripe with the quirky, insightful detail that has become Bennett's trademark. The monologues are: A Woman of No Importance (Patricia Routledge); A Chip in the Sugar (Alan Bennett); A Lady of Letters (Patricia Routledge); Bed Among the Lentils (Anna Massey); Soldiering On (Stephanie Cole); Her Big Chance (Julie Walters); A Cream Cracker Under the Settee (ThoraHird); Miss Fozzard Finds Her Feet (Patricia Routledge); The Hand of God (Eileen Atkins); Playing Sandwiches (David Haig); The Outside Dog (Julie Walters); Nights in the Gardens of Spain (Penelope Wilton) and Waiting for the Telegram (Thora Hird). Intensely moving, deeply engrossing and highly entertaining, these spellbinding soliloquies are essential listening.
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With a film adaptation starring Academy Award winner Maggie Smith and Alex Jennings proving a huge success, now is as good a time as any to reacquaint yourself with Alan Bennett's hilarious memoir The Lady in the Van.
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Instructed by the council that she must move on from the streets of Camden, an eccentric old lady, Miss Mary Shepherd, is invited to move her van into the garden of kind homeowner Alan Bennett - and there her and her van stay for the next 15 years.
A fascinating story that was adapted into an award-winning stage show, The Lady in the Van is a funny, poignant and life-affirming book filled with beautiful illustrations from the talented David Gentleman, the new film's screenplay and stunning on-set photographs.
This is a radio adaptation of Alan Bennett's short autobiographical play, originally directed by Nicholas Hytner for the National Theatre. Alan looks back on his early life with affection and sadness, revisiting some of the themes and conversations of his memoir 'A Life Like other People's'. Both he and his mother are seduced by the idea that other people's lives are much richer and fulfilling than their own. But when they do, finally, have cocktail parties, they are not at all what his mother would have envisaged...Alan is played by Alex Jennings and Alan Bennett, supported by the original National theatre cast of Gabrielle Lloyd, Jeff Rawle, Sue Wallace and Derek Hutchinson.
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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.
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Maggie Smith stars in this BBC radio adaptation of Alan Bennett's highly acclaimed autobiographical stage play. An eccentric old lady moves into a quiet street in Camden Town. There she remains, installed in her van in glorious self-sufficiency, until the council instructs her to move on. Then a kind home-owner invites her to move her van into his garden - where she stays for the next fifteen years. This is the fascinating story of the genteel vagrant who found a unique place in Alan Bennett's life and writing. But the drama is as much about the author himself as Miss Shepherd. Why did Alan Bennett let her commandeer his driveway? Was he acting out of kindness, weakness, or hidden guilt over not spending enough time with his own mother? Did he always subconsciously plan to exploit Miss Shepherd for literary profit? Thought-provoking and moving, The Lady in the Van tackles profound questions about social responsibility, homelessness and mental illness with a lightness of touch characteristic of Bennett the master storyteller. With a full cast including Adrian Scarborough, Marcia Warren and Alan Bennett, this bitter-sweet comic tale stars Maggie Smith as Miss Shepherd. Now a major BBC feature film, starring Maggie Smith and Alex Jennings.
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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.
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Here are Alan Bennett's four hugely admired, triumphantly reviewed and bestselling stories, brought together in one book for the first time. "Father! Father! Burning Bright" is the savage satire on a dying man's family reaction as he still asserts control over them from the hospital bed. Over 60,000 sold in small format. "The Clothes They Stood Up In" is the painful story of what happens to an elderly couple when their flat is stripped completely bare. Over 200,000 sold as a small novella. "The Laying on of Hands" is a memorial service for a masseur to the famous that goes horribly wrong. Over 100,000 copies sold as a novella. "The Lady in the Van" is the true story of the eccentric old lady and her van who are invited by a homeowner to live in his garden. The homeowner is Alan Bennett and she stays for 15 years. It became a West End hit, starring Maggie Smith. Like everything Bennett does, these stories are playful, witty and painfully observant of ordinary people's foibles. They all have brilliant twists, are immensely entertaining and highly moral. And all are modern classics.
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Alan Bennett sealed his reputation as the master of observation with this series of 12 groundbreaking monologues, originally filmed for BBC Television. At once darkly comic, tragically poignant and wonderfully uplifting, "Talking Heads" is widely regarded as a modern classic. This new edition, which contains the complete collection of "Talking Heads", as well as his earlier monologue, "A Woman of No Importance", is a celebration of Alan Bennett's finest work.
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A unique collection of twelve full-cast BBC Radio productions of plays by Alan Bennett. The titles are Forty Years On; A Visit from Miss Prothero; Say Something Happened; Kafka's Dick; Two in Torquay; The Madness of George III; The History Boys; An Englishman Abroad; A Question of Attribution; The Lady in the Van; Cocktail Sticks and The Last of the Sun. The cast includes John Gielgud, Patricia Routledge, Maggie Smith, Imelda Staunton, Judi Dench, Thora Hird, Alex Jennings and many more. Duration: 15 hours approx
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Alan Bennett reads the latest instalment of his diaries, as heard on BBC Radio 4's Book of the Week. Following on from Alan Bennett's bestselling, award-winning prose collections Writing Home and Untold Stories, Keeping On Keeping On is a third anthology featuring his unique observations, recollections and reminiscences. At its heart is his latest published collection of diaries. In these entries, covering the years 2005 to 2014, Bennett looks back on a packed decade that included writing four highly-acclaimed plays - The Habit of Art, People, Hymn and Cocktail Sticks, all of which premiered at the National Theatre - as well as the screenplays for the hit films of The History Boys and The Lady in the Van. In addition, he reflects on his 25 years of friendship and collaboration with director Nicholas Hytner, life with his partner Rupert Thomas and, radical views notwithstanding, his status as 'kindly, cosy and essentially harmless'. Packed with perceptive impressions of people and places, sharp social commentary, expressive description and delightful jokes, this irresistible record of life according to Alan Bennett is a treasury of wisdom and insight. Duration: 2 hours 20 mins approx.
'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.' 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. 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.
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This book brings together his diaries for 1980-1995, with reminiscences and reviews, the diary he kept during the production of his very first play, Forty Years On, which starred John Gielgud, together with hilarious accounts of his many television plays, notably An Englishman Abroad and A Private Function. At the heart of the book is The Lady in the Van, the true account of Miss Mary Shepherd, a homeless tramp who took up residence in Bennett's garden and stayed for fifteen years. From his now-legendary address at Russell Harty's memorial service to recollections of growing up in Leeds, Writing Home gives us a unique and unforgettable portrait of one of England's leading playwrights.
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A unique collection of eight Alan Bennett stories, read by the author. Alan Bennett is one of Britain's best-loved authors and an acclaimed storyteller. This exclusive compilation includes eight of his best tales, collected together for the first time. Here is his celebrated, iconic memoir The Lady in the Van; as well as two fascinating autobiographical accounts of his family and childhood. Uncle Clarence sees Bennett visiting the grave of a relative who died in Flanders in 1917; while in Hymn he joins forces with composer George Fenton and the Medici String Quartet to explore his musical memories. Bennett's incisive, acute observations shine through in his fiction too, with wry, moving and darkly humorous meditations on death (Father! Father! Burning Bright and The Laying On of Hands), sex (The Shielding of Mrs Forbes) and middle-age ennui (The Clothes They Stood Up In). His gift for affectionate satire reaches its pinnacle in The Uncommon Reader, a delightful tale in which the Queen discovers the pleasures of literature. Poignant, compassionate, wise and witty, the stories included are The Lady in the Van, Uncle Clarence, The Clothes They Stood Up In, Father! Father! Burning Bright, Hymn, The Laying On of Hands, The Uncommon Reader and The Shielding of Mrs Forbes. Duration: 13 hours approx.
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Alan Bennett's brand new short story, published in the "London Review of Books" in May 2001 and then by "Profile Books" in September, is read here by the author. The action takes place at a memorial service for a young man who died prematurely, abroad and in mysterious circumstances.
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Designed to meet the requirements for students at GCSE and A level, this accessible educational edition offers the complete text of the History Boys with a comprehensive study guide. Highlights of Andrew Bruff's guide include: detailed analyses of character, theme and structure; a clear introduction to the context of the play and its author; and key quotations and activities both for the student working alone and in the classroom. An unruly bunch of bright, funny sixth-form boys in pursuit of sex, sport and a place at university. A maverick English teacher at odds with the young and shrewd supply teacher. A headmaster obsessed with results; a history teacher who thinks he's a fool. In Alan Bennett's award-winning and hugely popular play, staffroom rivalry and the anarchy of adolescence provoke insistent questions about history and how you teach it, about education and its purpose.
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The Laying on of Hands, the painfully observant account of a memorial service for a masseur to the famous. The Clothes They Stood Up In, the comic tale of an elderly couple's trials after their flat is stripped completely bare. Father! Father! Burning Bright, the savage satire on the family of a dying man who rules over them from his hospital bed. The Lady in the Van, the true story of the eccentric old woman who is invited to live in a homeowner's front garden. She stays there, in her van, for fifteen years. The home is Alan Bennett's. It became a West End hit, starring Maggie Smith. Like everything Bennett does, these stories are playful, witty and painfully observant of ordinary people's foibles. They all have brilliant twists, are immensely entertaining and highly moral. And all are modern classics.
- RRP £12.99
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It was the corgis' fault. When they strayed through the grounds of Buckingham Palace, the Queen discovered the City of Westminster travelling library. The Queen has never had much time for reading - pleasure has always come second place to duty - though now that one is here I suppose one ought to borrow a book. She is about to discover the joys of literature, albeit late in life. One book leads to another and the Queen is soon engrossed in the delights of reading. However, this uncommon reader creates an uncommon problem. The royal household dislikes the Queen's new interest; it makes them uneasy. Books are devices that ignite the imagination. And devices like that are likely to explode. Alan Bennett reads his new story about HM the Queen's all-consuming new interest, as heard on BBC Radio 4. This exclusive and extended edition is twice as long as originally broadcast. 2 CDs. 2 hrs 27 mins.
A collection of three BBC Radio dramas from award-winning author Alan Bennett. A Visit from Miss Prothero features Mr Dodsworth, a retiree who has all the time in the world. Then he has a visitor from his old firm - Miss Prothero, who is eager to tell him all the news...In Say Something Happened, a naive, inexperienced social worker calls on an elderly couple - but does she need more help than they do? And in Two in Torquay, a middle-aged man and a middle-aged woman engage in polite conversation in a hotel on the Cornish Riviera. But neither is quite who they appear to be. Who is deceiving whom? Amusing, ironic and affectionate, these three adaptations feature Hugh Lloyd, Patricia Routledge, Judi Dench, Thora Hird, Brian Wilde, Imelda Staunton and Alan Bennett himself. 1 CD. 1 hr 15 mins.
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A sale? Why not? Release all your wonderful treasures onto the open market and they are there for everyone to enjoy. It's a kind of emancipation, a setting them free to range the world ...a sale room here, an exhibition there; art, Lady Stacpoole, is a rover. People spoil things; there are so many of them and the last thing one wants is them traipsing through one's house. But with the park a jungle and a bath on the billiard table, what is one to do? Dorothy wonders if an attic sale could be a solution.
"To be brought up in Leeds in the forties was to learn early on the quite useful lesson that life is generally something that happens elsewhere." In this delightful collection of reminiscences, Alan Bennett recalls his early years in a sequence of tales that are funny, touching and written in his unique style. Born in Leeds in 1934, he realises from a young age that his family is not like other families. When war breaks out in 1939, the Bennett family is on a tram heading down Tong Road as Neville Chamberlain addresses the nation. 'So, not quite partaking in the national mood and, as ever, unbrushed by the wings of history.' The precocious Alan yearns to see the places and lead the life he reads about in books, but not even the war provides the excitement he longs for. This is an ordinary childhood - hiking in the Dales on Sundays, trips into town with Mam - recalled with wry observation and ironic understatement, which is by turns moving and hilarious. These beautifully rendered snapshots, which include poignant portraits of his parents, confirm Bennett at the forefront of contemporary writing. Presented here as a new edition, "Telling Tales" will delight Bennett fans and enchant a new generation of readers.