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An Actor's Alphabet - An A to Z of Some Stuff I've Learnt and Some Stuff I'm Still Learning

An Actor's Alphabet

An A to Z of Some Stuff I've Learnt and Some Stuff I'm Still Learning

By Julie Hesmondhalgh
Imprint: Nick Hern Books
Paperback : 9781839041211, 208 pages, November 2022


In this candid and empowering A to Z of being an actor, Julie Hesmondhalgh draws on her decades of experience on stage and screen – including in massively popular television shows such as BroadchurchHappy Valley and Coronation Street – to lift the lid on the realities of life in today's industry, and show you how to navigate it.

She shares practical advice on preparing for roles (don't be afraid of looking like a dick), managing the ups and downs of your career (and how to be out of work without losing your mind), dealing with failure (and success), not constantly comparing yourself to others (bloody hard, but try), looking after your mental health, and the power of knowing when to say 'no'.

Passionate about the arts, she makes a compelling case for their importance to society, but also calls out the industry on where it continues to fall short – including a clear-eyed assessment of what needs to change to make it safer and healthier, more accessible and inclusive.

Written with refreshing honesty and self-deprecating humour, An Actor's Alphabet is a book for anyone who dreams of becoming an actor, wants to be a better one, or just wants to learn what being one is really like.


'Endearingly honest, funny and eye-opening. I loved it!'

- Francesca Martinez

'This is the best book on acting and being an actor I've read… Julie Hesmondhalgh is the mentor/best friend/guide we all need in these troubled times'

- Paul Chahidi

'Like its author, this book is brimming with wisdom, intelligence, empathy and humanity... An absolute must!'

- Maxine Peake

'A must-read, whether you've been on the artist's journey for years or are just starting out'

- Shobna Gulati

'Julie's book is honest, challenging and helpful. A great read'

- Andy Nyman

'This book is bold, brash, sincere and angry. It regrets nothing and questions everything… Treasure it like we should treasure Julie' 

- Jack Thorne

'A generous gift to actors, full of honesty, hope and wit. There is loads of tangible advice, not just for acting but for life'

- Anna Jordan