Other literary forms
Diane Johnson’s nonfiction works often complement her fictional subjects by exploring similar settings and themes. Her book The True History of the First Mrs. Meredith and Other Lesser Lives (1972) is a biography of Mary Ellen Nicolls Meredith, the daughter of novelist and poet Thomas Love Peacock and the first wife of novelist and poet George Meredith. Johnson also wrote the first published full-length biography of Dashiell Hammett, Dashiell Hammett: A Life (1983).
Terrorists and Novelists, a collection of Johnson’s book reviews and essays that appeared originally in The New York Times Book Review and The New York Review of Books, was published in 1982. Her autobiographical works include Natural Opium: Some Travelers’ Tales (1993) and Into a Paris Quartier: Reine Margot’s Chapel and Other Haunts of St. Germain (2005). Johnson has also published articles in such periodicals as the San Francisco Chronicle, The Times of London, and Bon Appétit; has contributed forewords to works such as Americans in Paris: Great Short Stories of the City of Light (2002), edited by Steven Gilbar, and photographer Philip Trager’s Changing Paris: A Tour Along the Seine (2000); and has written introductions for reprint editions of literary classics, including Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (1847) and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818). In addition, Johnson has written scripts for both film and television. She collaborated with film director Stanley Kubrick on the 1980 screenplay adaptation of Stephen King’s 1977 novel The Shining, and in 1979 she adapted her 1971 short story “An Apple, an Orange” for television.