Alan Rickman’s diaries to be published in print in Autumn 2022

Claire Maggie Dowens reports on the news that actor Alan Rickman's twenty seven handwritten diaries will be published in one volume in Autumn 2022.

Claire Maggie Dowens
12th December 2020

The diaries of the late actor Alan Rickman, perhaps best known for his portrayal of Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films, are to be published in autumn 2022. The 27 handwritten volumes of his “witty, gossipy and utterly candid” thoughts surrounding his life and career, spanning over 25 years, will be edited down into a single book; The Diaries of Alan Rickman

Rickman began handwriting his diaries in the early 1990s and continued to write them up until his death in January 2016, with the intention that they would one day be published. His dream is now set to come true as Publisher Canongate has acquired the rights to the diaries.

They will be edited by Alan Taylor, editor of the Scottish Review of Books who has worked with Canongate on many high-profile publications, including The Country Diaries; an anthology of pastoral journals by beloved writers including Beatrix Potter, Dorothy Wordsworth and John Fowles. Speaking to The Guardian, Taylor said that Rickman’s diaries “make for compulsive reading and offer a peerless insight into the daily life of a remarkable actor”. Rima Horton, Rickman’s widow said she was “delighted” by the news, commenting that she “couldn’t have wished for a finer appointment of editor.” Elaborating further, she stated “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.” 

The diaries offer a unique insight into all aspects of Rickman’s life, from his own thoughts of acting on set or on stage to the details of his personal relationships with family and friends. He also discusses his interest in politics, having described himself as being born “a card-carrying member of the Labour party” and provides numerous “rapturous and scathing” reviews of plays that he attended as an avid theatregoer. Perhaps the most exciting part of all, will be the behind-the-scenes stories of his time working on a variety of projects on stage and screen, including the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Harry Potter franchise and the blockbuster film Love Actually. 

According to Canongate, Rickman “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.”

Editorial director at Canongate, Simon Thorogood, has said that Rickman “fans everywhere are in for a rare treat” - 2022 can’t come quick enough! 

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  1. films, his acting and emotions were remarkable from start to end. Given how long his career spanned, there will no doubt be plenty of anecdotes about people he came across and stories that have never been told before.   However, I imagine some anecdotes will remain private. There may have been certain aspects of his life that Rickman never included within his diaries. Given he wanted them to eventually be published, the selectivity of which events are covered will be evident. Naturally, the editing process would require only certain events to be included, given the number of volumes of writing. All celebrities like publicity when it’s good. Everyone wants privacy when times are tough. 

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