David Hare is a playwright, screenwriter and theatre and film director. He has written over thirty stage plays which include Plenty (1978), Pravda (1985, with Howard Brenton), The Secret Rapture (1988), Racing Demon (1990), Skylight (1997), Amy’s View (1998), The Judas Kiss (1998), South Downs (2011), The Moderate Soprano (2015) and The Red Barn (2016). For film and television he has written over twenty-five screenplays, receiving two Academy Award nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Hours (2002), based on the novel by Michael Cunningham, and The Reader (2008), based on the novel by Bernhard Schlink. He has also written English adaptations of plays by Brecht, Gorky, Chekhov, Pirandello, Ibsen and Lorca. His memoir, The Blue Touch Paper was published in 2015. In the National Theatre millennial poll of the greatest plays of the 20th century, five of the top 100 were his. He was made a Fellow of the RSL in 1985 and knighted in 1998.
The Theatres of George Devine
“You should choose your theatre like you choose a religion”, said George Devine. “Make sure you don’t get into the wrong temple.” This scrupulous biography of the founder of the Royal Court is one of the best and purest books about theatre ever written, and will make you question what you want from a play.
The Year of Magical Thinking
Previous books about surviving grief have tended towards religion. But here, in response to the death of Didion’s husband, and then of her daughter, is the great description of what we face when we face nothingness. Since it was published in 2005 it’s been imitated countless times already, but no-one will ever come near Didion’s unflinching clarity of purpose.
Albert Speer: His Battle With Truth
Adolf Hitler tells you that you’re the greatest architect in the world. Thus flattered, do you have the courage to resist him? This book is essential reading for all those silly moralists who insist they would have behaved impeccably in Germany in the 1930s. Oh yeah? And how well are you doing against bigotry in America today? Or in the UK?
The End of the Affair
All four of these books give you a lot to discuss: God, death, art and morality. And now here’s adultery at its most savage and hopeless. A man’s love for a married woman in South London during the Second World War is enacted as an argument with God. “She always harboured my criticism. It was only praise which shed from her like the snow.”