Joined: 24 Mar 2010
Location: Born Glasgow/living in West Yorkshire
|Posted: Sat Feb 25, 2017 2:23 pm Post subject: LGBT writers: Alan Bennett
|Alan Bennett, now described as a "national treasure" by many, was born in Armley, Leeds in 1934. He was the youngest son of a co-operative butcher Walter and his wife Lilian Mary.
Bennett attended the local Church of England school. Barbara Taylor Bradford was in the same class.
From there it was on to Oxford University. There he studied history, got a First Class Honours Degree and performed with the Oxford Revue.
Then, after National Service, he remained at Oxford teaching and researching medieval history.
A turning point came in the early 60's. Bennett co-wrote and starred in BEYOND THE FRINGE, a satirical review along with Dudley Moore, Peter Cook and Jonathan Miller at the Edinburgh Festival. The show went on to the West End and New York.
He decided after this success to forsake academia and write full time instead. His first play FORTY YEARS ON was produced in 1968.
Since then his output has been prolific. My favourite productions of his are A DAY OUT (1972), SUNSET ACROSS THE BAY (1975) and AN ENGLISHMAN ABROAD (1983).
He is frequently described as "diffident" and as having a "shy public persona." Critics claim however that this "belies a sharpness of intellect and wit." And they note that he is "adept at dissecting the mores of the English and their institutions" (British Council 1987).
Bennett has made clear his contempt for the Tories. He refused an honorary doctorate from Oxford University in 1998 in protest at its' acceptance of funding from Rupert Murdoch. He also declined a CBE in 1988 and a knighthood in 1996 -although he says he is a monarchist and admires the Queen and Prince Charles.
He lives in Camden Town with is partner Rupert Thomas. He also had a long relationship with his former housekeeper Anne Davis until her death in 2009.