Carey Harrison

Carey Harrison (born 19 February 1944) is an English novelist and dramatist.

Carey Harrison
Born (1944-02-19) 19 February 1944
Kensington, London, England
OccupationNovelist, playwright, radio dramatist
EducationSunningdale School
Harrow School
Jesus College, Cambridge
SpouseClaire Lambe
ParentsRex Harrison
Lilli Palmer

Early years and education

Harrison was born in London to actors Rex Harrison and Lilli Palmer,[1] and raised in Los Angeles and New York, where he attended the Lycée Français. Subsequently, in Britain, he attended Sunningdale School, Harrow School, and Jesus College, Cambridge.


His first play, Dante Kaputt, was staged at the Phoenix Theatre, Leicester, in 1966.[2] Subsequent plays were premiered at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh and the Stables Theatre Club in Manchester, where Harrison was Resident Playwright during 1969-70. His drama output for radio and television includes numerous award-winning plays,[3] among them Hitler in Therapy. A more recent play, A Cook's Tour of Communism, was broadcast by the BBC World Service in 2008. His most recent radio drama, Breakfast With Stalin, was premiered in 2010 by Westdeutscher Rundfunk Koeln in Germany, where 16 of Harrison's plays have been broadcast in translation.

In 2009, a new stage play, Scenes From a Misunderstanding, a comedy about the relationship between Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, was premiered at the Jewish Theatre Festival in Manhattan, and subsequently re-mounted at the Byrdcliffe Theater in Woodstock, New York, along with Bad Boy, a companion piece written for the New York cast. A subsequent play, Magus, was staged by The Woodstock Players in June 2010, and another, Midget in a Catsuit Reciting Spinoza, in June 2011. His next play, Hedgerow Specimen, was staged by The Woodstock Players in June 2012. Two new plays for the Woodstock Players, I Won't Bite You: an Interview with the Notorious Monster, Dorothea Farber, and Rex & Rex, were premiered in repertoire in June and July 2013. 17 hours of Harrison's work have been seen on Masterpiece Theatre, including the miniseries Freud.[4]

He is the author of 40 stage plays and 16 novels, most notably Richard's Feet, published by Holt in the US and by Heinemann in Britain,[5] winner of the Encore Award from the UK Society of Authors. Harrison's most recent novels, Justice, and Who Was That Lady? have been acclaimed by readers, and both reached no.1 on the Amazon Contemporary Fiction downloads list.

His latest, Dog's Mercury, is being published in 2015. Harrison has received numerous grants from the UK Arts Council, and his prizes include Sony Radio Academy Awards, the Giles Cooper Award, the Prix Marulic, the Writers' Guild of Great Britain Award for Best Play, the Prix Italia Silver Award and the Best Play award from the Berlin Akademie der Kuenste, as well as two nominations (2005 and 2007) for the Pushcart Prize for Journalism. His work has been translated into thirteen languages. His output includes published translations from French, Italian, German and Spanish authors, and performed translations from the works of Pirandello, Goldoni, Feydeau and the late Gert Hofmann.

From 2005-11 he contributed a monthly essay on linguistic trends in The Vocabula Review, and since November 2011, a column on fiction-writing in Roll Magazine Online. His essays have appeared in magazines as diverse as New Politics: a journal of socialist thought, and Chronicles: a paleoconservative magazine of American culture. He has also been a book reviewer for numerous newspapers and journals including The San Francisco Chronicle,[6] The Chicago Tribune, and The London Review of Books.


Harrison was one of the London Recruits, a group of young people recruited by the African National Congress (ANC) in the 1960s and 1970s to smuggle ANC and SACP literature into South Africa after the ANC had been decimated by the Rivonia trials of 1963/4.[7][8]

Personal life

Harrison's first wife was Mary Chamberlain.[7] Harrison now lives in upstate New York with his wife, the artist Claire Lambe; he has four children, Rosie (Laurence), Chiara, Faith, and Sam, and one stepdaughter, Zoe Lambe. He is Professor of English at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York.

Notable works


  • Freud (1984)
  • Richard's Feet (1990)
  • Cley (1991)
  • Egon (1993)
  • Dog's Mercury (2005)
  • Who Was That Lady? (2005)
  • Justice (2005)
  • Personal Assistant (2006)
  • Clear To Kill (2006)
  • As An Unperfect Actor on the Stage (2006)


  • Dante Kaputt! (1966)
  • Twenty-Six Efforts at Pornography (1968)
  • Servant of Two Masters (from Goldoni) (1978)
  • In a Cottage Hospital (1969)
  • Wedding Night (from Gert Hoffmann) (1969)
  • Lovers (1970)
  • Shakespeare Farewell (1970)
  • The Bequest (1971)
  • Manoeuvres (with Jeremy Paul) (1974)[9]
  • Madcap (from Pirandello) (1976)
  • I Never Killed My German (1979)
  • A Short Walk to the Stars (with Jeremy Paul) (1979)
  • Visitors (with Jeremy Paul) (1980)
  • A Night on the Tor (1980)
  • A Suffolk Trilogy: 3 Plays for Radio (1982)
  • Who's Playing God? (1983)
  • I Killed Jacques Brel (1984)
  • From the Lion Rock & the Sea Voyage Trilogy: Plays for Radio (1989)
  • Mr Pope's Toilet (1990)
  • The Water-Cure (1991)
  • Newton In Love (1992)
  • Last Thoughts Upon St. Paules (1993)
  • Self-Portrait With Dog (1993)
  • A Walk in the Bois (1993)
  • The Empress Wu, The Concubine Wang (1994)
  • St. Agnes' Eve (1995)
  • For A Son (1995)
  • A Call From The Dead (1995)
  • The Psychiatrist's Tale (1996)
  • East of the Sun (2000)
  • Richard's Feet (2003)
  • Hitler in Therapy (2005)
  • A Cook's Tour of Communism (2008)
  • Breakfast With Stalin (2008)
  • Scenes From a Misunderstanding (2009)
  • Bad Boy (2009)
  • Magus (2010)
  • Midget In A Catsuit Reciting Spinoza (2011)
  • Hedgerow Specimen (2012)
  • Rex & Rex (2012)
  • I Won't Bite You: an Interview with the Notorious Monster, Dorothea Farber (2012)


  • The Sea Change (1965)
  • Sabbatical (1968)
  • The Jensen Code ( 1973 )
  • The Godson (1981)
  • Imaginary Friends (1981)
  • Freud (1984)
  • Jumping The Queue (1984)
  • I Never Killed My German (1986)
  • French Cricket (with Jeremy Paul) (1986)
  • William (1987)
  • Cley (1988)
  • Borgia (1990)
  • Egon (1995)
  • Breaking Up (Is Hard To Do) (2007)
  • The Stand-In (with John M. Keller) (2008)


  1. Golden, Eve (2002). The Brief, Madcap Life of Kay Kendall. University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0-8131-2251-1.
  2. Parker, John (1972). Who's who in the theatre: A Biographical Record of the Contemporary Stage. Pitman. ISBN 0-273-31528-5.
  3. Horner, Rosalie (1983). Inside BBC Television: A Year Behind the Camera. Webb & Bower. ISBN 0-906671-77-9.
  4. "Freud, Warts and All, Sits for the Camera". The New York Times. 20 January 1985. Retrieved 7 August 2008.
  5. McDowell, Edwin (2 January 1991). "Book Notes". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 August 2008.
  6. Webber, Elizabeth (1999). Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Allusions. Merriam-Webster. p. 422. ISBN 0-87779-628-9.
  7. Mary Chamberlain, "My secret war against Apartheid", The Independent, 8 April 2015.
  8. Richardson, Clem. "Words are his life: Prof strives to transmit passion for writing". New York Daily News. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  9. Johns, Eric (1974). "Manoeuvres". British Theatre Review.
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