Mariner Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, has acquired North American rights to This Is Not a Pity Memoir, the first book by award-winning screenwriter and playwright Abi Morgan. The book, part of collaboration with the publishing arm of Michael Sugar’s Sugar23, is set to be published June 2022.
“We’ve been huge fans of Abi’s from afar for a long time so it’s a great honor to help publish her first book,” said Sugar23’s Michael Sugar and Angela Ledgerwood, editorial director of Sugar23 Books. “We were enthralled by Abi’s story from page one of her manuscript and couldn’t quite believe how beautifully she managed to transform the story of her husband’s illness—and her own—into a galvanizing reminder of how to live and love fully.” Ledgerwood will oversee the publication of This Is Not a Pity Memoir on behalf of Sugar23.
This Is Not a Pity Memoir is about an ordinary day that marks the end of ordinary life. When Abi found Jacob, her partner of eighteen years and father to their children, lying on the bathroom floor, it was clear that something was very wrong. He was rushed to hospital and, while the medical teams tried to work out what had caused his collapse, he was put into a coma. It was only when he came out of the coma, several months later, that it became clear that Jacob would never be the person he used to be.
“Writing for the screen can be brutal,” commented Abi Morgan. “They can cut you at any draft. Writing from my own life when life becomes more brutal than anything I could have written, my internal editor went into overdrive. In hospital corridors, I edited the ‘dialogue’ of doctors. The worst moments, I would pray for a director to shout ‘cut’. But life is not a film, or a play, or a memoir. It’s lived, with ‘no exit stage right’. What saved me, was knowing that at the end of every movie, even the bad ones, you get to stand up from your seat, and walk out into the light.”
Millicent Bennett, Editorial Director at Mariner Books, acquired North American rights in a competitive auction from Jamie Carr at The Book Group on behalf of Eugenie Furniss at 42.
“Our whole team at Mariner cannot stop talking about this memoir,” said Bennett. “It is impossible not to be swept up in Abi’s bright, sharp (one might even say ‘relentlessly honest’) take on her and Jacob’s journey. And though it sounds like a plot ripped straight from a thriller—the love of your life is convinced you are a stranger in your own body—in Abi’s telling it exposes the raw truth of our deepest relationships and makes for a universal, irresistible story.”
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