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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Finding yourself in your words

“You don’t put yourself into what you write; you find yourself there.” – Alan Bennett

A playwright, screenwriter, actor and author, Bennett – who turned 83 this year – has written hundreds of works for all genres and shows no signs of letting up, as perhaps reflected in his 2016 book Keeping On Keeping On, a compilation of essays and memoir.  He has won numerous Book of the Year and Lifetime Achievement Awards in many different writing fields.

His quote above is from his critically acclaimed The Lady in the Van based on his experiences with an eccentric Miss Shepherd, who lived on his driveway in a series of dilapidated vans for more than 15 years.   First published in 1989 as an essay, then as a book, he adapted it to a stage play, radio program and finally award-winning film – each time starring the great Maggie Smith as the eccentric lady.   “I write plays about things that I can't resolve in my mind,” he said.  “I try to root things out.”           
                                     His other work includes The Madness of George III and its film adaptation, and the play and subsequent film of The History Boys.  He’s also been a popular audio books’ reader doing such children’s favorites as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Winnie-the-Pooh.

A huge advocate for public libraries and their place in society and our social order, he noted, “I don't want to see libraries close; I want to find local solutions that will make them sustainable.  Closing a public library is child abuse, really, because it hinders child development.”

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