I’ve been having an extraordinary time adapting the Diary of Anne Frank for the BBC. Recently I went to Amsterdam to vist the annex on the Prinsengrascht, where she was in hiding for two years. I went there early in the morning, before it opened to the public, and wandered around the rooms trying to imagine what it must have been like for a girl of thirteen to be shut away with her family, in fear of her life, sharing a tiny bedroom with a fifty-four year old dentist who was pining for his fiancee and found it as difficult to be cooped up with a stroppy teenager as she found it to be cooped up with him. There were huge tensions, too, between the Franks and the other family, the van Pelses, whose son Peter had a doomed love affair with Anne, born out of desperation, claustrophobia and adolescent curiosity. And yet there were times of great high spirits too. She lived very intensely during this terrible period, and I’m trying to shape her story into five episodes that show her development from stroppy, rather superficial teenager to a young woman of great insight and honesty. We , the viewers, will be her confidantes. She will tell us, as she told her diary, the secrets of her heart. The BBC hope to shoot it in August, for broadcast this winter.
“In The Dark”, my latest novel, was published in May. “From the first, perfect sentence…this novel is a gem” (Evening Standard)…more reviews on the book page of this website. ..I’ll be talking about it at the Kings Lynn Festival on 20 July and the Edinburgh Book Festival on 17 August. I’ll also be at the Ways with Words Festival at Dartington, doing a balloon debate (whatever that is) on 12 July. Meanwhile my adaptation of my novel “These Foolish Things” is finished and should hopefully be shooting in India in the autumn. My various other projects are circling like planes at Heathrow, waiting to land – Virginia Ironside’s “No, I Don’t Want to Join a Bookclub” which should be starring Julie Walters, my film about Shirley Porter’s infamous leadership of Westminster Council, and some other films still at an early stage. “Tulip Fever” is in pre-production but no more news yet….Meanwhile, have a great summer and do contact me at my email address, email@example.com
P.S. I’m also appearing at the Henley Literary Festival on 22 September, talking about “In The Dark”, and will be reading from the book at Waterstones in Clapham on 24 September. In October I’ll be at the Readers’ Day at the Birmingham Book Festival (21 October, Google them and click onto their website – indeed, Google all the events for further details). On 9 October I’ll be talking at the University College School book festival, and will also appear at the Sheffield Off The Shelf festival on 24 October, while I’ll be reading on behalf of PEN at the Guildford Book Festival on 27 October.