Susan Wyndham reviews 'The Vanity Fair Diaries: 1983–1992' by Tina Brown

Susan Wyndham reviews 'The Vanity Fair Diaries: 1983–1992' by Tina Brown

The Vanity Fair Diaries: 1983–1992

by Tina Brown

Weidenfeld & Nicolson, $29.99 pb, 438 pp, 9781474608404

Tina Brown hit the ground partying in New York when she arrived in 1983 to revive the struggling Condé Nast magazine Vanity Fair. But an early diary entry shows the former Tatler editor was still a Londoner with residual Oxford snobbery.

Everyone at the party was so famous but unfortunately I had never heard of them. I said to Shirley MacLaine, ‘What do you do?’  She gave me a manic, hostile stare and went on talking to [investigative journalist] Ed Epstein about how he should research a book about flying saucers.

Brown’s naïveté did not last long. Her edited diaries of the eight years she spent as editor of Vanity Fair chronicle a brilliant professional and social ascent. The fourteen-page index is an A-list of names from Hollywood, publishing, the arts, fashion, business, and politics who crowded her life with their emaciated shoulders and bloated egos.

Read the rest of this article by subscribing to ABR Online for as little as $10 a month.

We offer a range of subscription options, including print, which can be found by clicking here. If you are already a subscriber, enter your username and password in the ‘Log In’ section in the top right-hand corner of the screen.

If you require assistance, contact us or consult the Frequently Asked Questions page.

Susan Wyndham

Susan Wyndham

Susan Wyndham is the former literary editor of The Sydney Morning Herald. In her career as a journalist she has been editor of Good Weekend magazine, New York correspondent for The Australian and a deputy editor of the Herald. She is the author of Life In His Hands: The true story of a neurosurgeon and a pianist, and has edited and contributed to several other books.

Leave a comment

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.

NB: If you are an ABR Online subscriber or contributor, you will need to login to ABR Online in order to post a comment. If you have forgotten your login details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.