(The following article appeared in The Guardian, 6/9.)
Antonia Fraser to tell Harold Pinter 'love story'
Historical biographer will publish her 'portrait of a marriage' to the Nobel laureate in January 2010
After bestselling biographies of Mary Queen of Scots and Marie Antoinette, Antonia Fraser is now turning her professional attentions to her own life, and her marriage to the Nobel prize-winning playwright Harold Pinter, who died on Christmas Eve 2008.
Fraser will draw both from her memories and the diaries which she started to keep in October 1968 to write Must You Go? which will be published next January. Always the biographer, she is "being careful to distinguish between the two", also quoting Pinter himself, and his friends, "once again noting the source".
Fraser was Pinter's second wife; the two were the centre of a tabloid storm in 1975 when Pinter's then wife Vivien Merchant said she would cite Fraser in a divorce action. Pinter and Merchant's marriage was finally dissolved in 1977, and Fraser married the playwright three years later.
She pointed to the cry of one of Richard II's courtiers – "O! call back yesterday, bid time return" – saying that the memoir was her way of doing so. It will be subtitled My Life with Harold Pinter, and that "declares its contents", she added. "This is 'my life with Harold Pinter', not my complete life, and certainly not his," she said. "In essence, it is a love story and as with many love stories, the beginning and the end, the first light and the twilight, are dealt with more fully than the high noon in between, described more impressionistically."