Latest updates

The Private Life of the Diary at the front of Waterstones

Monday, 4 July 2016

Dear Unbounders

The Private Life of the Diary is prominently displayed in several bookshops. This week it is part of a front of house

display at Waterstones.

Thank you to John Mitchinson and Amy Winchester for championing the book in the public sphere!

Very best to you all



On display at Waterstones.

The Private Life of the Diary makes a summer reading list

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Dear Subscribers and Supporters,

Lovely news today: The Private Life of the Diary has made a summer reading list; it is positioned nicely just across the margin-hallway from John Le Carré (with his accent on) who is playing at Night Manager.


So, as the headline suggests, we are sorted.


Thank you for all your kind support.


The Private Life of the Diary: One of Five Must Read Titles for Penguin's Platform

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Dear All

A lovely piece of news:

The Private Life of the Diary has been selected as one of five Must Read Titles for Penguin for April. The promotional video is here: 

with nearly 8,000 viewers, and as Amy Winchester of Unbound points out, most of the comments are on The Private Life!

Happy May to you all,




The Private Life of the Diary on the Radio

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Dear Readers,

Thanks to Amy Winchester, my super-hero publicity agent, The Private Life of the Diary had air time on Radio 3's The Verb programme and then Radio 4's Woman's Hour.

Here are the links to those programmes. Thank you Amy!


The Verb:

Woman's Hour:



Book Launch Talk: A Teenage Elegy (For Talia)

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Dear Unbounders

Last night was The Private Life of the Diary launch at the wonderful story museum in Oxford. A few of you have asked me to post the talk; here it is.


A diary is an elegy for moments, hours, days, years spent. The years of my own life that I mourn the most are my teenage years; I was at my best during those years, the years of twelve…

The Private Life of the Diary . . . out and about

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Dear Unbounders,

Thanks to Unbound's wonderful publicist, Amy Winchester, The Private Life of the Diary was reviewed by The Times this Saturday and was the leading non-fiction title.

It is also a 'Recommended' non-fiction title with Waterstones, spied front of house at Waterstones, Oxford. I'm tweeting and Facebooking to make sure everyone knows that it is possible for an independent publishing…

The I-News: double page spread on The Private Life of the Diary this week

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Dear All,

I hope by now you have received your copy of The Private Life of the Diary. Final deliveries are being made this week (if you have confirmed your delivery address).

The book has been receiving quite a bit of publicity (thanks to Amy Winchester, fabulous publicity agent at Unbound).  Here is the piece included in Monday's 'I-News' on the book,  including a still from the animation, …

The Book has Landed!

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Dear Loyal Book Waiters,

Thank you so much for waiting for so long. The advance copies of Private Life of the Diary have finally landed. You will be receiving your special editions SOON, SOON, SOON!

Meanwhile, a major newspaper has requested an extract in the last few days: this is a good start. A huge thanks, for this, to the Goddess of Publicity, Amy Winchester, whose elegant thumb you see…

The Private Life of the Diary: Book Review in the Independent

Friday, 18 March 2016

Dear Subscribers,

Thank you for your kind support. My first review in The Independent, yesterday:

The book is in the shops April 21 but you will receive your copies at the end of March/early April.

With best wishes




The Book! Just weeks away . . .

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

The subtitle will be larger . . .


Why I Keep A Journal by Margaret Scarborough

Friday, 1 January 2016

A brave and poignant piece on journal keeping by writer Margaret Scarborough.

I wish you all a Happy New Year.

Warmly, Sally

            I keep a journal out of necessity. Perhaps that is not really the right sense. I keep one and I tend one badly, but it is still necessary. If it were a garden plot it would be full of weeds, rarely fecund, its rows crooked and its seedlings…

Book Cover

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Dear Unbounders,

We are preparing the book cover for The Private Life of the Diary.  Here it is.  What do you think? There will be a subtitle too. That is in process. The subtilte and my name may be delivered by my handwriting or someone's handwriting. Mine looks like a bunch of spilled Licorice Allsorts.

I think the typography is very Bloomsbury and 1930s. I asked my friend who is a writer…

Literary Diaries Master class: Wednesday October 14th, The Idler Academy, 7pm

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Dear Unbounders,


Happy Sunny September! 

Just to let you know that I will be running a Master class on literary diaries on Wednesday October 14th at 7pm at The Idler Academy. Do think of coming . . . and tell your friends. You will have the opportunity to work and play with diary extracts from writers Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath. 


See the link below for all the information. …

Sylvia Plath's late teen diaries

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Dear Unbounders,

Two summers ago, during the Proms season, I was asked to speak on the radio about Sylvia Plath. It was the middle of June and I thought, 'I'm not doing another Plath and Death Routine, not on the radio, not with my dad tuning into the concert after.'

This month was my birthday, and in order to console myself from dark thoughts On Aging as a Woman I decided to read over some…

Diary-Survival: Endings

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Dear Unbounders, 

Greetings! During the final edits for my book I'm experimenting with endings. My book now has a memoir-thread running through it. I tell the story of my own diary as a coming-of-age story, a story of survival. 

This is one version of an ending.

With v. best wishes



Orkney, August 1985

         My family was too large to go on holiday. Family holidays…

Sylvia Plath sculpture

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Dear Unbounders,

Happy Summer! The Private Life of the Diary: from Pepys to Tweets is in the final editing stages! 

Meanwhile, I have just completed an intenstive interdisciplinary summer course at the Rothermere American Institute, Oxford University. Some of the course included diaries and diary writing: ( One of the attending, students, artist Mikaela Liottoa…

Book Art Commission from Mikaela Liotta inspired by the Journal of Sylvia Plath

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Dear Unbounders,

A very happy spring to you! Thank you for your kind support of The Private Life of the Diary, which is now in the production stage. Please do continue to tell your friends and family about the book. Pledges are still available.

The book is scheduled for publication early 2016: the diary season!

Meanwhile, I'd like to share with you a special commission to compliment my book…

A Drawing Journal: continued

Sunday, 1 March 2015

'Your clear eye is the one absolutely beautiful thing,

I want to fill it with color and ducks,

The zoo of the new.' ('Child', Sylvia Plath)

    Drawing by Rosie Tomey, aged 14.



The Private Life of the Diary: from Pepys to Tweets: A Review by Alice James

Sunday, 22 February 2015

 ‘The Mess and Maelstrom’; Form, Function and Fantasia in Sally Bayley’s The Private Life of the Diary by Sally Bayley

   ‘Nothing is real except the present, and already, I feel the weight of centuries smothering me. Some girl a hundred years ago once lived as I do. And she is dead. I am the present, but I know I, too, will pass. The high moment, the burning flash, come and are gone, continuous…

Dreaming Through Things : A Drawing Diary

Friday, 13 February 2015

Virginia Woolf turned to her diary between the interval of 4 and 6pm; in February those hours are the hours of twilight, when the light begins to fade and the outlines of things in the world shift and alter.

My friend Rosie has been keeping a drawing journal because she says it draws her closer to things as they are. But I wonder if drawing also draws us closer to things as they are not. If you…

Drawing Flowers, Fruit and Frowning: A Fourteen Year Old's Art Journal

Saturday, 7 February 2015

I always wanted to draw well. But I can't. Perhaps if I had spent more time practising I might have got there. Drawing, as John Ruskin reminds us in his lectures, is a fastidious process. You have to stare a long time at your subject, you have to know what those subjects might look like as pure objects, in place, without you looking. You have to carry what you draw around with you, keep it in your…

John Lennon's Diary

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Dear Unbounders,

Here is another extract from my book, The Private Life of the Diary: from Pepys to Tweets. 

This is from the Introduction:


Diary Nativities


January 1 Wednesday, 1969

                    Got up – went to work – came home

                    Watched telly – went to bed.


                    January 2 Thursday, 1969

                    Got up…

Happy New Year

Friday, 2 January 2015

Dear Unbounders, Happy New Year to you all. I hope this year brings you time to read, write and reflect.

I've started to keep a diary-notebook on my I-phone to note down passing thoughts, book titles, snatches of conversation I hear in public spaces, bits of dialogue I think might be useful, words that have been going around in my brain, words I'm not sure I know the meaning of (still!), phrases…

Christmas Day, 1660, according to Samuel Pepys

Thursday, 25 December 2014

25th December (1660). From the Diary of Samuel Pepys:

“In the morning very much pleased to see my house once more clear of workmen and to be clean, and indeed it is so, far better than it was that I do not repent of my trouble that I have been at.'

Merry Christmas Unbounders! Thank you very much for your support. I hope that you have cleared out all your workmen too!

All the best


Sylvia Plath's Diary Entry, November 13, 1949

Friday, 12 December 2014

Sylvia Plath, November 13, 1949

As of today – I have decided to keep a diary again – just a place where I can write my thoughts and opinions when I have a moment. Somehow I have to keep and hold the rapture of being 17 . . . I want, I think, to be omniscient… I think I would like to call myself “The girl who wanted to be God.”

Teenage Diary Writing Workshop

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Hello Unbounders! I am looking to fund a teenage diary writing workshop; the idea is to go into state schools and offer a writing workshop using fictional and real diaries in order to encourage budding teenage writers to find a sense of voice and identity in the practice of diary writing. I think of Dodie Smith's stunning begining to 'I Capture The Castle': 'I write this sitting in the kitchen sink…

Publication date: April 2016
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