In May 1978 Harold Pinter and Antonia Fraser visited Israel at the time of the 30th Anniversary of Independence. It was three years after they first lived together; neither had set foot in Israel before. Based in Jerusalem, they toured many of the country’s historic sites: from Bethlehem to the fortress of Masada, encountering future Prime Minister Shimon Peres, Mayor of Jerusalem Teddy Kollek, Jackie Kennedy and a long-lost cousin of Harold’s on a kibbutz. It was a trip during which Pinter’s feelings about his heritage emerged for the first time. As he said himself: ‘For the first time I feel Jewish’.
This diary was kept daily by Antonia Fraser: the vivid narrative and descriptions (Antonia swimming in the Dead Sea while Harold had a beer) are leavened with humour, occasionally wry where Harold’s quirks were concerned, and always tender. Above all, it is a unique picture of a time and place – and a touching insight into fifteen days in the lives of two writers, one Jewish, one Catholic, one a playwright and one a biographer, who were also a devoted couple.
Antonia Fraser is the author of many widely acclaimed, internationally bestselling works of historical non-fiction. She has received many awards for her writing, including the Wolfson History Prize, the Norton Medlicott Medal of the Historical Association and the James Tait Black Prize for Biography. In 2011 she was made a DBE for services to literature. She lives in Kensington, London.