About the book
'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.
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.
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.
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.
Wry and eloquent ... screamingly funny... his sentences are always beautiful.
There is not a dull or uninteresting page here ... teddy bear he may be but he has a tiger's teeth.