List of fictional diaries

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The first installment of Diary of a Nobody in Punch (1888)

This is a list of fictional diaries categorized by type, including fictional works in diary form, diaries appearing in fictional works, and hoax diaries.

The first category, fictional works in diary form, lists fictional works where the story, or a major part of the story, is told in the form of a character's diary.[1] Diary form is frequently used in fiction for young adults and tweens as well as adults.[2][3] It has been used for multiple books in a series following the diarist's life over many years, such as the Adrian Mole series, the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, and the Dork Diaries series, all of which chronicle the lives of characters who start a diary as children or adolescents and continue their diary as they mature over time. Fictionalised diaries set during distinct historical periods or events have been used since at least the 1970s to bring history to life for young people.[4] Dear America, My Australian Story and related series are recent examples of this genre. The form is also frequently used for fiction about adult women's lives,[5] some notable examples being Bridget Jones's Diary, The Color Purple, and Pamela.

The second category lists fictional works that are not written in diary form, but in which a character keeps a diary, or a diary is otherwise featured as part of the story. Some common uses for diaries in fiction are to reveal to the reader material that is concealed from other characters, to divulge information about past events, or as a device to provide real or false evidence to investigators in mystery or crime fiction.[6] Examples of diaries being used in one of these ways include Amy Dunne's false diary in Gone Girl and Laura Palmer's secret diary in Twin Peaks.

The third category lists hoax diaries, that were presented as being true diaries of real people when first published, but were later discovered to be fiction. Go Ask Alice, the first of a number of books by Beatrice Sparks purported to be based on diaries of real teenagers, was originally presented by Sparks as the non-fictional diary of an anonymous teenage girl,[7] but was later classified by publishers as fiction.[8]

Fictional works in diary form[edit]

Diaries appearing in fictional works[edit]

Hoax diaries[edit]

  • The Diary of a Surgeon in the Year 1751–1752 (1938)
  • Surgeon's Mate: the diary of John Knyveton, surgeon in the British fleet during the Seven Years War 1756–1762 (1942)
  • Man midwife; the further experiences of John Knyveton, M.D., late surgeon in the British fleet, during the years 1763–1809 (1946)
  • Diary of Elizabeth Pepys (1991) by Dale Spender[12]
  • The Journal of Mrs Pepys (1998) by Sara George.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Duyfhuizen, Bernard (Winter 1986). "Diary Narratives in Fact and Fiction. Reviewed Works: Diary Fiction: Writing as Action by H. Porter Abbott; A Book of One's Own: People and Their Diaries by Thomas Mallon; The Diary Novel by Lorna Martens". Novel: A Forum on Fiction. 19 (2). Duke University Press: 171–178. doi:10.2307/1345552. JSTOR 1345552.
  2. ^ Westcott, Rebecca (2014-04-03). "Children's Books Top 10s: Top 10 Diary Books". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2016-01-05.
  3. ^ Redmond, Moira (2014-01-14). "Dear Diary, How Did You Become Part of Our Literary Culture?". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2016-01-05.
  4. ^ Storey, Dee C. (April 1982). "Reading in the Content Areas: Fictionalized Biographies and Diaries for Social Studies". The Reading Teacher. 35 (7). International Literacy Association and Wiley: 796–798. JSTOR 20198101.
  5. ^ Abbott, H. Porter (2005). "Diary". In Herman, David; Jahn, Manfred; Ryan, Marie-Laure (eds.). Routledge Encyclopedia of Narrative Theory. Routledge. p. 106. ISBN 1134458401.
  6. ^ Emrys, A.B. (2011). Willkie Collins, Vera Caspary and the Evolution of the Casebook Novel. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. ISBN 978-0-7864-4786-2.
  7. ^ Alleen Pace Nilsen, "The House That Alice Built", School Library Journal, October 1979, pp. 109-112.
  8. ^ Ben Yagoda, Memoir: A History. New York: Riverhead Books, 2009.
  9. ^ Thirlwell, Adam. "Imaginary Conspiracies". The New York Review of Books 2022. ISSN 0028-7504. Retrieved 2021-10-26.
  10. ^ "The Luminous Novel by Mario Levrero review – an extraordinary autofictional diary". the Guardian. 2021-08-13. Retrieved 2021-10-26.
  11. ^ Jeanne Preston (Editor), The Diary of a Farmer's Wife, 1796–97, Penguin Books Ltd; New edition 29 October 1992, ISBN 0140157069, accessed 13 December 2015)
  12. ^ a b Tomalin, Claire (18 October 2002). "Letters: Oct 19: Spoofs and Pepys". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 June 2019.