We had a customer in the shop the other day who was most insistent that Alan Bennett had died. She was so sure of this fact that we began to doubt ourselves.
But it reminded me that it is the time of year to pause for a moment and reflect on some fine writers we have lost this year -
Norman Mailer (Executioner's Song and many others)
Ira Levin (remember Rosemary's Baby?)
Kurt Vonnegut Jr (Slaughterhouse 5 and so much more)
Michael Dibdin (creator of the marvellous Aurelio Zen)
Robert Anton Wilson (prolific SF writer)
Sidney Sheldon (master of the airport blockbuster)
Johnny Hart (cartoonist, creator of The Wizard of Id and B.C.)
Robert Jordan (sadly dying before he finished his great and lengthy Wheel of Time series)
Peter Haining (author of many historical true crime books, authority on Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Who, afficionado of horror stories and a great many other subjects.)
The world will be a duller place without these writers. I'm sure too that there are probably others who I've missed.
But not Alan Bennett who, as far as I know, is still alive and kicking.