The Smoking Diaries
By Simon Gray
(Da Capo Press, Paperback, 9780786715459, 240pp.)
Publication Date: June 2005
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When he turned sixty-five, the acclaimed playwright Simon Gray began to keep this diary: not a careful honing of the day’s events with a view to posterity but an account of his thoughts as he had them, honestly, turbulently, digressively expressed. The Smoking Diaries is the result, in which one of Britain’s most amusing and original writers reflects on a life filled with cigarettes (continuing), alcohol (stopped), several triumphs and many more disasters, shame, adultery, friendship, and love. Few diarists have been as frank about themselves, and even fewer as entertaining.
So here I am, two hours into my sixty-sixth year.... The truth is that I’m nastier than I used to be back whenback when I was sixty-four, for instance, when I was nastier than when I was at sixty-two and so forth, back and back, always the less nasty the further back, until I get to the age when I was pre-nasty, at least consciously, when the only shame I knew was the shame of being found out, which was when I was, well, about eight, I suppose.”
More than 150 writers from 40 events will gather in New York City for PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature, April 28 – May 4, 2014.
For its 10th anniversary, the festival celebrates those who have dared to stand ‘on the edge,’ risking their careers, and sometimes their lives, to speak out for their art and beliefs. Join us for a wide range of events, including debates, one-on-one conversations, participatory workshops and performances in venues throughout the city. Use the code PEN14 (use PEN2014 for events at The Public Theater) and receive a 20 percent discount on most events. www.worldvoicesfestival.org