Born in Leeds, Yorkshire, in 1934, Alan Bennett graduated with honors from Oxford in 1957 and lectured there before embarking on a writing career. His plays include The Madness of George III and The History Boys, both of which were adapted to film. He is the author of numerous commentaries, novellas, and short stories, including The Lady in the Van, currently adapted to film and starring Maggie Smith. According to Guy Woodward writing for the British Council Literature in 2009,
"Alan Bennett’s diffident, often shy public persona has arguably been crucial to his sustained and ever growing success, but any perceived aura of cosiness belies a sharpness of intellect and wit that has proved adept at dissecting the mores of the English and their institutions across a variety of genres."
Here's an enjoyable interview with Bennett regarding Mrs. S. and the new film about her. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/film/the-lady-in-the-van/alan-bennett-hay-interview/