The Smoking Diaries Volume 1

Simon Gray

Published: 2 April 2008
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 240 pages
ISBN: 9781847080547


When he turned sixty-five, the playwright Simon Gray began to keep a 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 was the result, in which one of Britain's most beloved and original writers reflected 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.

About the author

Image of Simon Gray

Simon Gray was born in 1936. He began his writing career with Colmain, the first of five novels published by Faber. He is the author of many plays for TV and radio and films, including After Pilkington, which won the Prix Italia, and the Emmy Award-winning Unnatural Pursuits. He wrote more than thirty stage plays, among them Butley and Otherwise Engaged, which both received Evening Standard Awards for Best Play, and The Late Middle Classes, winner of the Barclay's Best Play Award. His plays Little Nell and Missing Dates were both broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and The Last Cigarette, which he adapted with Hugh Whitemore from The Smoking Diaries, premiered in March 2009. In 1991 he was the BAFTA Writer of the Year. His acclaimed works of non-fiction include An Unnatural Pursuit, How's That for Telling 'Em, Fat Lady? and, published by Granta, Fat Chance, Enter a Fox, The Smoking Diaries, The Year of the Jouncer and The Last Cigarette. He was appointed CBE in the 2005 New Year's Honours for his services to drama and literature. Simon Gray died in August 2008. More about the author


The Smoking Diaries is a gorgeous black comedy whose effect is to make the reader long for one dinner in the author's company, but to accept the book as the next best thing’ Stephanie Merritt



‘As a long-standing addict of Simon Gray's diary-books I found a new emotional poignancy as well as the expected hilarity in his latest, The Smoking DiariesDavid Lodge

‘I never believe people when they say they laugh out loud at books, but there I was with The Smoking Diaries laughing out loud over and over again’ Craig Brown

‘Laugh aches guaranteed’

‘There's illness but also much hilarity in the diaries of playwright Simon Gray as he struggles with age, amnesia, cigarette addiction and the downsides of a luxury hotel’ Blake Morrison

‘These are superb diaries. If you enjoy company with a tireless and turbulent intelligence these are not to be missed’ Howard Jacobson

‘You should go out and buy The Smoking Diaries right now: first because Simon Gray clearly needs the money, and second, because you are unlikely to come across a funnier, cleverer, more painful book’ Robert Hanks

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