November 29, 2020

Alan Rickman’s 27 volumes of diaries to be published as one book

The Diaries of Alan Rickman, written by the actor until his death with the intention of one day publishing them, will be released in autumn 2022

The diaries of the late actor Alan Rickman are to be published, with 27 handwritten volumes of his “witty, gossipy and utterly candid” thoughts about his career and life spanning more than 25 years set to be edited down into a single book.

Publisher Canongate has acquired the rights the actor’s diaries, which will be published as The Diaries of Alan Rickman in autumn 2022. Rickman began writing the diaries by hand in the early 1990s, with the intention that they would one day be published. By then, his acting career had truly kicked off, him having already built a reputation at the Royal Shakespeare Company and on stage as Valmont in Les Liaisons Dangereuses. He was also a household name for his cinematic turns as the sardonic villain Hans Gruber in 1988’s Die Hard, the Sheriff of Nottingham in 1991’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and as Juliet Stevenson’s dead husband in the 1991 supernatural romance Truly, Madly, Deeply.

He continued to keep diaries over the next 25 years, all the while appearing in films including Galaxy Quest, the Harry Potter franchise, Sense and Sensibility, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and Love, Actually. He wrote right until his death in 2016, from pancreatic cancer at the age of 69.

The Diaries of Alan Rickman will be edited by Alan Taylor, editor of the Scottish Review of Books, who put together The Country Diaries, a treasury of pastoral journals by the likes of Beatrix Potter, Dorothy Wordsworth and John Fowles, for Canongate.

“I’m delighted that Canongate will be publishing Alan’s diaries, and couldn’t have wished for a finer appointment of editor than Alan Taylor,” said Rima Horton, Rickman’s widow, who was with him since 1965. “The diaries reveal not just Alan Rickman the actor, but the real Alan – his sense of humour, his sharp observation, his craftsmanship and his devotion to the arts.”

Taylor told the Guardian that Rickman’s diaries were “anecdotal, indiscreet, witty, gossipy and utterly candid, they make compulsive reading and offer a peerless insight into the daily life of a remarkable actor who was as beloved in the US as he surely was in the UK.”

In the diaries, Rickman shares his thoughts on acting, his own and what he observed in others on set or on stage. As an avid theatregoer who attended several shows a week, the diaries also include reviews of plays he attended – “some rapturous and others scathing”, said Canongate. They will also give insights into his friendship circle, his interest in politics – Rickman described himself as being born “a card-carrying member of the Labour party” – and behind-the-scenes stories of his time on stage and on screen, including tales from the Harry Potter set, where he worked for a decade, between 2001 and 2011.

“More than anything though, the diaries reveal the real Alan Rickman, funny, passionate, occasionally provocative, and give fresh insight into his art,” Canongate said. “He wrote his diaries as if chatting with a close friend. They provide pitch-perfect vignettes: short, pithy paragraphs painting big pictures, and offering intriguing insights into himself, his peers and the world around him. They are intimate, perceptive and very funny.”

Simon Thorogood, editorial director at Canongate, who bought the rights at auction from DHH literary agency, said that Rickman “fans everywhere are in for a rare treat”.

The Diaries of Alan Rickman will be published by Canongate around the world, and by Holt in the US.