Alan was a feature writer and columnist on The Times for 30 years. While there he interviewed many top figures in the world of music (Paul McCartney, Leonard Cohen, Stephen Sondheim, Yehudi Menuhin, Philip Glass, Ravi Shankar, Andre Previn); theatre/film (Ian McKellen, Judi Dench, Woody Allen, Mickey Rourke, Peter Hall, Jonathan Miller) and literature (Muriel Spark, James Baldwin, Elmore Leonard, Ian Rankin, Anthony Powell, Laurie Lee).
He now writes regularly for The Guardian.
Details on his latest project, an exciting new play, will be available soon.
A collection of his Times diary columns was published as a book, Real Life With Small Children Under Foot, which he read as a series on Radio 4.
During his decades on The Times he was shortlisted several times in the Press Awards.
He has written five novels. The first, Boychester’s Bugle drew ecstatic reviews. The Times Literary Supplement called it ‘splendidly funny.’ For Alan Hollinghurst in The Observer, it resembled Keith Waterhouse, while The Tablet saw similarities with Flann O’Brien and early Kingsley Amis. The veteran farceur Tom Sharpe found it ‘brilliantly comic.’
Going Over, a collection of short novels published in 2010 by Muswell Press opens with the winner of a national novella competition.
Franks is the author of many plays, including The Mother Tongue, which starred Prunella Scales and Gwen Taylor. (‘English-Chekhov’ wrote Sheridan Morley in The Spectator); The Edge of the Land, about the great floods of 1953, and Previous Convictions, a black domestic comedy about family duty and recession. His most recent play, A World Elsewhere, did a sell-out run at Theatre 503 in Battersea in 2014. His local paper published a Q&A with him about it.
With the singer Patty Vetta he has released five albums of his songs, including The Wishfulness Waltz, which was recorded by Fairport Convention. He is currently collaborating as a lyricist with the saxophonist and composer Tim Whitehead who was current artist in residence in Tate Britain. His latest album, Wherever You Go, with songs written by Alan and featuring a number of different singers including Isabella Pappas, is out now.
Alan Franks has won several poetry prizes, most recently the Wilfred Owen Association International Poetry Competition. He also won the Wigtown Competition, Scotland’s largest, and the Petra Kenny poetry prize. Unmade Roads, his most recent collection, includes his winning entries in the Plough and Petra Kenney competitions. He has been described, by the late John Rety, co-founder of Torriano Poetry, as ‘a modern day Sydney Carter’.
Alan is happily married to Ruth. They have one son, Arthur. They also love spending time with Alan’s three children and grandchildren from his first marriage.