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David Hare has long been one of Britain's best-known screenwriters and dramatists. He's the author of more than thirty acclaimed plays that have appeared on Broadway, in the West End, and at the National Theatre. He wrote the screenplays for the hugely successful films The Hours, Plenty, and The Reader. Most recently, his play Skylight won the 2015 Tony Award for Best Revival on Broadway.
Now, in his debut work of autobiography, "Britain's leading contemporary playwright" (Sunday Times) offers a vibrant and affecting account of becoming a writer amid the enormous flux of postwar England. In his customarily dazzling prose and with great warmth and humor, he takes us from his university days at Cambridge to the swinging 1960s, when he cofounded the influential Portable Theatre in London and took a memorable road trip across America, to his breakthrough successes as a playwright amid the political ferment of the '70s and the moment when Margaret Thatcher came to power at the end of the decade.
Through it all, Hare sets the progress of his own life against the dramatic changes in postwar England, in which faith in hierarchy, religion, empire, and the public good all withered away. Filled with indelible glimpses of such figures as Alfred Hitchcock, Laurence Olivier, Tennessee Williams, Helen Mirren, and Joseph Papp, The Blue Touch Paper is a powerful evocation of a society in transition and a writer in the making.
When, in 2000, the National Theatre published its poll of the hundred best plays of the 20th century, David Hare had written five of them. Yet he was born in 1947 into an anonymous suburban street in Hastings. It is a world he believes to be as completely vanished as Victorian England.
Now in his first panoramic work of memoir, ending as Margaret Thatcher comes to power in 1979, David Hare describes his childhood, his Anglo-Catholic education and his painful apprenticeship to the trade of dramatist. He sets the progress of his own life against the history of a time in which faith in hierarchy, deference, religion, the empire and finally politics all withered away. Only belief in private virtue remains.
In his customarily dazzling prose and with great warmth and humour, David Hare explores how so radical a shift could have occurred, and how it is reflected in his own lifelong engagement with two disparate art forms - film and theatre. In The Blue Touch Paper David Hare describes a life of trial and error: both how he became a writer and the high price he and those around him paid for that decision.
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