The Marmalade Diaries

The Marmalade Diaries by Ben Aitken tells the true story of an unlikely friendship struck up between two unlikely housemates – 35-year-old Ben Aitken and 85-year-old recently widowed Winnie. From the author of The Gran Tour, The Marmalade Diaries tells a story of grief, family, friendship, loneliness, life, love, lockdown and marmalade – reminiscent of the critically acclaimed Lady in the Van. It was signed by Icon Books for a significant 5-figure advance.

“Had I known that a lockdown would commence 10 days after I arrived, I don’t think I would have moved in with a recently widowed 85-year-old.”

One house. Two housemates. Three reasons to worry: Winnie and Ben are separated by 50 years, a gulf in class, and major differences of opinion.           

When hunting for a room in London, Ben Aitken came across one for a great price in a lovely part of town. There had to be a catch. And there was. The catch was Winnie: an 85-year-old widow who doesn’t suffer fools.

Full of warmth, wit and candour, The Marmalade Diaries tells the story of an unlikely friendship during an unlikely time. Imagine an intergenerational version of Big Brother, but with only two contestants. One of the pair a grieving and inflexible former aristocrat in her mid-eighties. The other a working-class millennial snowflake. What could possibly go wrong? What could possibly go right?    

Ben Aitken was born under Thatcher, grew to six foot then stopped, and is an Aquarius. He is the author of Dear Bill Bryson: Footnotes from a Small Island (2015, 2022), A Chip Shop in Poznań: My Unlikely Year in Poland (2019) and The Gran Tour: Travels with my Elders (2020). Ben is represented by Ed Wilson at Johnson and Alcock, and The Marmalade Diaries will be published on 10th March 2022 by Icon Books.

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