Robin John Chapman (born 18 January 1933 in Croydon, Surrey, England, UK) is an English novelist, playwright and screenwriter.


Chapman began his career as an actor at Cambridge (he played Hamlet in the ADC's centenary production and was president of the Marlowe Society) before holding a spear at Stratford-Upon-Avon, working in repertory and then joining Joan Littlewood’s revolutionary Theatre Workshop where he turned to writing. Among his stage plays are High Street China, Guests and One of Us. His television plays have won awards from the Mystery Writers of America and the Writers Guild as well as a Bafta nomination. He edited, with an introduction, The City and the Court, a collection of five Jacobean comedies.

He has enjoyed a long career in television, favoured by Granada TV during its early days. His best known work includes Spindoe (1968), the controversial Big Breadwinner Hog (1969) and many adaptations, including M. R. James' Lost Hearts, Jane Eyre, Eyeless in Gaza and a considerable number of screenplays on Roald Dahl's short stories for Tales of the Unexpected. Single plays for television include two entries in Play for Today and Blunt (1987), all three presented by BBC TV.

His ten published novels are: A Waste of Public Money, My Vision's Enemy, Big Breadwinner Hog, Christoferus, Wartimes (two novellas in one volume), The Secret of the World, The Duchess's Diary[1][2][3][4][5][6][7] (now in its fourth edition with Oxbow Books, the diary has been translated into Spanish (Edhasa), French (Actes Sud) and German [Surkampf]), Sancho's Golden Age and Pasamonte's Life. These last three titles form a trilogy extending the lives and experiences of characters found in Don Quixote. Reviewing the first book of the trilogy The Duchess’s Diary in the Times Literary Supplement E.C. Riley said that it "shows a truer understanding of Cervantes than twenty books of criticism" while Karl Miller in the London Review of Books acclaimed Chapman's "learned and yet fully animate invention".

Chapman's latest novel is Shakespeare's Don Quixote - a novel in dialogue featuring Shakespeare, Fletcher and Cervantes as they scrutinise a version of the lost play Cardenio, co-starring Don Quixote and Sancho Panza as presented in a fringe theatre today.

His novel-in-dialogue, Look Who’s Talking, was scheduled to be published in autumn 2012.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Conant, Oliver (1985) "HOSTESS TO CERVANTES", The New York Times, 17 March 1985, retrieved 2011-07-12
  2. ^ 'Cervantes turns life into art, Chapman turns art into life.' Edward H. Friedman, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, Legenda, 2009
  3. ^ 'Robin Chapman's account of the young Duchess is moving and exhilarating. This story shows a truer understanding of Cervantes than twenty books of criticism.' E. C. Riley, Professor of Spanish, University of Edinburgh, The Times Literary Supplement, 1980.02.29.
  4. ^ 'A book to read and re-read.' Fay Weldon, Punch, London, 1980.03.12.
  5. ^ 'This book of the Duchess is a learned invention and yet a fully animate one. It sees and hears itself.' Karl Miller, Editor, The London Review of Books, 1986.02.20.
  6. ^ 'A book to read and re-read.' Fay Weldon, Punch, London, 1980.03.12.
  7. ^ 'Chapman is the English writer most profoundly concerned with Don Quixote. He established the relationship with his highly original novel The Duchess's Diary (1980), bringing to life an important character from the second part of Don Quixote. Very recently, he has written two more novels inspired directly by Cervantes's novel: Sancho's Golden Age (2004), a sequel that takes place about five years after the death of Don Quixote, and Pasamonte's Life (2005), a picaresque tale narrated in the first person by the galley slave Ginés de Pasamonte, who has a role in both parts of Cervantes's novel.' Howard Mansing, Vice President of the Cervantes Society of America. Legenda, 2009.

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