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  • Published: 15 June 2007
  • ISBN: 9780099275862
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 560
  • RRP: $39.99

John Osborne

A Patriot for Us

Compelling, groundbreaking and full of startling revelations, a dazzling, definitive biography of the man who changed the face of British theatre.

John Osborne (1929-1994), unapologetic rebel and original Angry Young Man, changed the face of modern British theatre forever with Look Back in Anger. An actor turned playwright, Osborne was married five times, his private life generating a tumult and drama to match that of his work.

This startlightly candid, authorised but intimate and informal biography is the first to have access to Osborne's own notebooks and private letters, which record for posterity his often anguished nature. It includes personal interviews with scores of his friends and enemies, among them a bombshell of a confession from Osborne's alleged male lover, and the first public comments from his estranged daughter Nolan, who was thrown out of the family home at just sixteen.

This is an essential, unorthodox, moving and extraordinarily frank portrait of the man, the playwright and his era.

  • Published: 15 June 2007
  • ISBN: 9780099275862
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 560
  • RRP: $39.99

About the author

John Heilpern

Born in Manchester and educated at Oxford, John Heilpern wrote award-winning interviews for the Observer before becoming a Times columnist in New York. He has worked with Peter Hall at the National Theatre and with Michael Bennett on Broadway. He is the author of a classic book about the theatre, Conference of the Birds: The Story of Peter Brook in Africa, and of How Good Is David Mamet, Anyway - Writings on Theatre and Why it Matters.

Praise for John Osborne

[Heilpern] writes with infectious verve, championing the plays against carpers and cavillers, and showing how close they were to their creator's raw experience. Above all he celebrates Osborne's cross-grained vitality. His book brings a flesh-and-blood human being back from the shades, shouting, like Jimmy Porter 'Hallelujah! I'm alive!'

John Carey, Sunday Times

Fascinating...exhaustive perusal of the playwright's formative years

Beryl Bainbridge

An enjoyable, exhaustive, well-researched and highly readable biography

Michael Arditti, Independent

His biography is surely a model of its kind: tightly written, vivid, witty, knowledgeable and with a seamless, and often moving, interweaving of the past and present

Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday

Heilpern has produced a riveting biography - Heilpern orchestrates his complex narrative with flair and contrives to invoke affection in the face of bad behaviour....judicious and dependable

Valerie Grove, The Times

A sensationally enjoyable piece of work

Duncan Fallowell, Daily Telegraph

He creates an unforgettable portrait

Joyce McMillan, Scotsman

Engrossing...entertaining and deeply affecting, a remembrance of a time when theatre in Britain actually mattered

Alan Taylor, Sunday Herald

Heilpern is sharp, gossipy and good fun, and he honours the best of Osborne without disguising the worst

Blake Morrison, Guardian

A rip-roaring account of early struggles, huge triumphs, fraught marriages, friends and lovers abused, money wasted and, finally, health and talent evaporated

Jane Edwardes, Time Out

Both revelatory and disturbing. It paints a portrait of an English writer who is as complex and tormented as Evelyn Waugh

William Boyd, Guardian

Osborne has found his ideal biographer

John Banville

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