There’s at least one person in everyone’s life whom they idealize. It may be some idol, an actor, or any public figure. Want to know mine? Well, I have plenty, but one of them is J.K. Rowling. Everything is so inspirational about her life, her struggles, and of course, her work, especially the Harry Potter series. You guys might also admire some writers. Now, what’s the way to help you feel closer to your respected writer and their life? Their journals, or as we call them, writers diaries.
When you are a constant admirer of someone, it’s only natural for you to feel the urge to know anything and everything about them, especially if someone is a public figure. I know because I do, too, especially when it comes to exception authors who have contributed a lot to the literature world. A writers’ diary is an excellent way of knowing the personal experiences of that particular writer and what they went through to reach where they did.
A writers’ diary is an author’s journal in which the author has mentioned their personal experiences, personal life, and emotions during writing. Some might think it would be boring to read about someone’s personal life and daily routine, but that’s a wrong assumption. A few famous examples are “The Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank and the Journals of Sylvia Plath. These works are far from boring and, in some aspects, more interesting than some fictional books!
I love reading writers’ diaries. Like so much that sometimes, only sometimes, I start reading an author’s works by reading their diary first, if it is publicized. I’ve read many and many of them, of the old and the new. Let me share a few with you to get a taste of it.
8 Renowned Writer’s Diaries For Book Lovers
Writers’ diaries are one of my many true loves at present. Like literally. Have a look at some of them and see if you feel the same as I do.
1. Journals of Sylvia Plath
Author: Sylvia Plath
Publishing Date: 1982
Sylvia Plath (born 27th October 1932) was a novelist, poet, and short-story writer of American origin. Her famous works include “The Colossus and Other Poems,” ” Ariel,” and “The Bell Jar.” She was married to Ted Hughes, a fellow poet, but their relationship was unstable. Plath is even seen alleging him of abuse in her letters. They eventually separated, but Sylvia was clinically depressed and committed suicide by poisoning herself with carbon monoxide on 11th February, 1963.
The journals of Sylvia Plath provide a portrait of the last seven months of the writer’s life. The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath includes two unsealed journals by Ted Hughes, her husband, in 1998, before his death. Overall, it is an essential read for those who feel fascinated by Sylvia’s life.
2. The Dairy of Lady Murasaki
Author: Murasaki Shikibu
Publishing Date: 1999
Murasaki Shikibu (born 1973) was a poet, novelist, and lady-in-writing in the Heian period at the Imperial Court in Japan.
Murasaki Shikibu is merely a descriptive name, while her real name remains unknown. Her work, “The Tale of Genji,” Is considered one of the world’s first novels.
The Diary of Lady Murasaki is a collection of small fragments of the diary written by Murasaki Shikibu. This diary was probably written from 1008 to 1010 while working in the Japanese Imperial Court. It includes portions of the author’s birth and mostly the interactions among ladies-in-writing in the imperial court.
3. The Diary of a Young Girl
Author: Anne Frank
Publishing Date: 1947
Annelies “Anne” Frank (born June 12, 1929) was a Jewish diarist of German-Dutch origin. Along with her family, she was a victim of the holocaust initiated by Adolf Hitler during the Second World War. After hiding in a secret annex for two years with her family and four other people, they were caught and subsequently sent for annihilation. She died on 1st November 1944, in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
The Diary of a Young Girl is a collection of diary entries written by Anne Frank from 1942 to 1944 while hiding during the Nazi holocaust in the Netherlands. After she was arrested, her diary was retrieved by Miep Gies, who gave it to Otto Frank, Anne’s father, and the only survivor of the holocaust from the Frank family.
4. Diaries, 1910-1923
Author: Franz Kafka
Publishing Date: 1948
Franz Kafka (born 3 July 1883) was a German-speaking novelist and short-story writer of Bohemian origin. He is considered one of the most significant figures in the literature field of the 20th century. His most notable works include “The Metamorphosis,” ” The Castle,” and “The Trial”.
In his will, he had instructed to destroy all his unfinished works after his death which included “The Trial,” ” The Castle,” and “Amerika,” but the executor, who was also his friend, ignored those instructions. Aged 40, he died of tuberculosis on 3rd June 1924.
Diaries, 1910-1923 is a handwritten account of and by the author about the daily events of life, his observations, letters, drafts to notes, sketches, dreams, several finished stories, and many more writings dating from 1909 to 1923.
As Kafka was a German-speaking writer, these accounts were not in English, but they were translated into the language by Ross Benjamin. The latter attempts to reconstruct the author’s diary entries.
5. Theft by Finding: Diaries 1977-2002
Author: David Sedaris
Publishing Date: 2017
David Raymond Sedaris (born 26th December 1956) is a comedian, radio contributor, and writer of American origin. He gained recognition through his essay “Santaland Diaries,” broadcasted on National Public Radio in 1992. “Barrel Fever” was his first published collection of articles and short stories in 1992. Aged 65 at present, he is the brother and writing contributor to actor Amy Sedaris.
Theft by Finding: Diaries 1977-2002 is a compilation of the diary entries made by the author from 1977 to 2002. In this account, he shares entries from his days as a 20-year old who used to be hitchhiking throughout the state of Oregon to live in London being shy of his 46th birthday.
6. The Journal of Annie Baxter Dawbin
Author: Annie Baxter Dawbin
Publishing Date: 1858
Anna Maria Dawbin (born 24th November 1816) was a diarist of British-Australian origin. Although it is pretty clear that she has always had a diary, it was on 24th September 1834, that she started her first of the total 32 journals that still survive today. Her earlier diaries, published as “Memories of the past” in 1876, were published anonymously. She died in Melbourne on 22nd November 1905.
This journal of Annie is nothing less than an actual novel. We can say that she has written her hopes in the diary as she was a woman of fixed opinions. She also was in the process of writing her version of the British settlement in Australia. She had recorded the daily station work she relished. She also wrote about a love story in her journal, but unfortunately, it wasn’t her. She mentioned that her life was far from romantic, but it was an embarrassing downfall into bankruptcy.
7. White House Diary
Author: Jimmy Carter
Publishing Date: 1970
Having served as the 39th president of the USA, James “Jimmy” Carter jr. (born October 1, 1924) is an American politician and a member of the Democratic Party. He even served as 76th governor of Georgia and Georgia State senator. He has also been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in favor of humanity.
This personally-annotated book/journal of former US President Jimmy Carter. It contains the reactions and feedback regarding his political relationships with the allies and enemies. Also, in this book, Carter describes his explorations on his observations of issues and their impacts that still reoccur in America.
8. A Writer’s Diary
Author: Virginia Woolf
Publishing Date: 1953
Adeline Virginia Woolf (born January 25, 1882) was one of the most important modernist English writers of the 20th-century. She began writing professionally in 1900 after her father encouraged her to do so. In 1917, she and her husband found a printing press through which she published most of her work. She committed suicide on March 28, 1941, at the age of 59, by drowning herself.
This journal was written by and about Virginia Woolf over 27 years, but her husband collected it, making it possible for publication. This journal is full of entries referring to her writing and writing exercises. It also contained accounts of scenes and characters of her works and her comments on the books she was currently reading.
Many writers have kept personal diaries. These were just some examples. We won’t even know if the author we follow in the present day keeps a diary or not and what all he/she might have stored in there. I guess we’ll just have to wait to see that but until then, let’s take a break from novels and explore some writers’ diaries.
Liked this recommendation list? Great! Because I have more already lined up for you: