Hare first found acclaim with his seventh play, Plenty, later adapted into a movie starring Meryl Streep, and his profile as one of Britain’s most important, and prolific, playwrights has not wavered since. His repertoire includes both Broadway hits—Racing Demon, Skylight, and Amy’s View would all earn Tony nominations in the 1990s—and Oscar-nominated screenplays for The Hours and The Reader. In 2015 he published his memoir, The Blue Touch Paper. Most recently he has been working on compelling TV dramas such as the critically-acclaimed 2018 Netflix miniseries, Collateral, and the Hugh Laurie-helmed political drama, Roadkill, which aired on PBS in 2020.

Below are David Hare’s favorite books, available to purchase as a set or individually.


The Seagull

Anton Chekhov
The best account ever written of how the middle-aged crush all life out of the young.
Add to cart

The Third Man

Graham Greene
An object lesson in how to write a screenplay. Sparkling on top, profound below.
Add to cart

The Complete Poems: Anne Sexton

Anne Sexton
She touches me like no other poet. Pretty rare that mental illness does help a writer, but for her, it was inseparable from her greatness.
Add to cart

Fanshen: A Documentary of Revolution in a Chinese Village

William Hinton
Adapting this book about the Chinese agrarian revolution for Joint Stock Theatre in 1975 opened my mind to the possibilities of playwriting.
Add to cart

We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live: Collected Nonfiction

Joan Didion
Nearly all of Joan Didion contained in one volume, and therefore more of the late 20th century US than in any other writer.
Add to cart

Border Country

Raymond Williams
The classic novel of a young man needing to leave the working class but wanting to take their values with him. By my university professor.
Add to cart

Deep Water

Patricia Highsmith
There has to be a Highsmith because I love thrillers, and hers are among my many favourites. This one is especially creepy.
Add to cart

Jude the Obscure

Thomas Hardy
Everything I want a novel to be, story-driven but marked with the great arc of its telling. You feel “Yes, this is what the 19th century must have been like.”
Add to cart

The Lives of Lee Miller

Tony Penrose
I want photographs in my selection and this illustrated biography by her son contains Miller’s best. The war photos are unforgettable.
Add to cart

King Lear

William Shakespeare
Seeing Paul Scofield and Irene Worth act in Peter Brook’s great production in 1962 led me to attempt my own in 1985 with Anthony Hopkins playing the king.
Add to cart