Diaries of Note is a daily celebration of the diary—one of the most intimate, therapeutic, and revealing forms of writing imaginable—and a regular opportunity to see how people have attempted to memorialise and make sense of their lives throughout the ages.
Every day, beginning on 1st January 2023, a new (old) diary entry will be published on Diaries of Note, with each entry appearing on the same day and month as it was originally written. Every single diarist will be different—nobody will appear twice—which means that by 31st December 2023 you will have been transported back in time by 365 people. In January alone, for example, you will read the journals of Katherine Mansfield, Andre Gide, Keith Richards, Beatrix Potter, MC Escher, and 26 others. Some will already be known to you; others you will be meeting for the first time. Some entries will be no longer than a few words; others will need a little more of your attention. Most of the initial 365 diary entries have been chosen, but suggestions are still very welcome, as is feedback. You can reach me at email@example.com.
How to Follow
This is essentially a blog—like the old days!—which means you can simply return each day to see the new entry and/or revisit previous dates. However, you may find it easier to sign up for the daily newsletter, in which I’ll be sending out these diary entries to all who subscribe. It’s completely free. Alternatively, you can grab the RSS feed, or you can follow Diaries of Note on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook for daily updates. For all I care, you could do all of the above.
Due to the nature of this project, with each entry being published on its anniversary, I can only use diary entries that have been specifically dated by the author or can somehow be accurately dated after the fact. Frustratingly, this instantly rules out the diaries of such people as Helen Garner, Sarashina Nikki, Witold Gombrowicz, and Jim Carroll, to name just four, all of whom would otherwise have featured. In other instances—e.g. Sylvia Plath and Audre Lorde—I have simply been unable to obtain permission to reprint their diary entries. Others were just too expensive to use. As for Adrian Mole, Bridget Jones, and Charles Pooter: after much deliberation I’ve decided to stick with non-fiction. For now at least.
Countless hours have been spent obtaining permission to use the diary entries you will read on Diaries of Note—or at least, those that are still in copyright. If you’d like to use them on your own website, or in a book, or anywhere else, I’m afraid I’m not the person to give you the green light. By all means get in touch, but I’ll probably just point you somewhere else.
My name is Shaun. In 2009 I began Letters of Note, an online homage to offline correspondence which evolved to become a series of books and a newsletter that still lives and breathes. It even inspired a series of live events called Letters Live. Along the way I’ve also compiled books titled Lists of Note and Speeches of Note (there seems to be a pattern). Diaries of Note has been an ambition of mine for years, but I never had the time necessary to do it properly. Now I do and here we are.
Beneath each diary entry is a Further Reading section in which I often refer to books relating to the diaries in question, if not the published diaries themselves, and sometimes I will link to those books on Amazon. In these instances, I’ll use an affiliate link which means I’ll make a few pence whenever someone buys a copy. If a few billion people use those links, I may just cover this project’s costs.
[EDIT, AUG 2023: This is no longer the case. Amazon closed my affiliate account because these entries are being sent to people by email, thereby violating our agreement. This made no sense to me, and my appeal was fruitless, so if you are able, please donate to the cause…]
Speaking of costs, Diaries of Note has already proven to be a time-consuming and expensive project, and as I type it hasn’t even launched—none of which is your problem, obviously, but if you’re enjoying this journey, and you’re able, please consider supporting it by making a donation. It would be hugely appreciated.
Heartfelt thanks to the diarists whose words are to feature on Diaries of Note, and thanks to the many publishers, copyright holders and estates who have kindly allowed it to happen. Thanks, also, to the lovely people at Automattic for building this blog and newsletter, powered by WordPress and MailPoet respectively. And finally, thanks must go to the numerous anthologies of diary writing that have captivated me over the years, particularly The Assassin’s Cloak, edited by Irene & Alan Taylor, Ariadne’s Thread: A Collection of Contemporary Women’s Journals, edited by Lyn Lifshin, The Faber Book of Diaries, edited by Simon Brett, A Treasury of the World’s Great Diaries, edited by Philip Dunaway & Mel Evans, and New York Diaries, edited by Teresa Carpenter.
get in touch
Send all feedback, questions and complaints to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll read every email that reaches the inbox, and I’ll respond to as many as I can.