Bookseller Jean Lucey Pratt's diaries to be published

Bookseller Jean Lucey Pratt's diaries to be published

Canongate is to publish the lifetime diaries of bookseller Jean Lucey Pratt, which cover 60 years of the 20th century.

A Notable Woman: The Romantic Journals of Jean Lucey Pratt will be edited by Simon Garfield and published this November.

Pratt began the diaries aged 15 in April 1925, and continued them until her death in 1986.

They comprise of more than a million words in 45 exercise books.

Garfield has previously put together three collections of wartime writing, which featured Pratt’s anonymous submissions to the Mass Observation Archive, which specialises in material about everyday life in Britain.

Pratt’s character, Maggie, was one of four chosen for a BBC adaptation of the collections, with Canongate saying she served as an inspiration for the character Ursula in Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life.

A Notable Woman, which will be a single 700-page volume, is the first time Pratt’s journals will be published under her own name.

A bookseller for many years, Pratt wrote about “anything that amused, inspired or troubled her, laying bare every aspect of her life with aching honesty, infectious humour, indelicate gossip and heartrending hopefulness”.

Canongate said that through the diaries “we see Britain hurtling through a period of unbridled transformation, and we witness the shifting landscape for women in society”.

“As Jean's words propel us back in time, A Notable Woman becomes a unique slice of living, breathing British history and a revealing private chronicle of life in the 20th century,” the publisher continued.

Garfield said: “The journals paint a remarkable portrait of a single woman living through the turmoils of the last century. I'm not aware of anything else quite like them in their lyricism, boldness and vitality - at times I was reminded of Virginia Woolf, Alan Clark, Caitlin Moran and Bridget Jones.”

Jenny Lord acquired World rights in A Notable Woman from Rosemary Scoular at United Agents.