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Random House wins Blair memoirs
26.10.07 | Philip Jones
Random House has won the battle for Tony Blair's memoirs. The book will be published in the UK by Hutchinson, and by Alfred A Knopf in the US and Canada. The fee paid has not been disclosed but estimates reported in the UK press suggest a figure of between £5m and £6m--less than the anticipated £8m many thought the book would fetch.
The announcement of the deal was made last night by Gail Rebuck, chairman and chief executive of the Random House Group Ltd, and Sonny Mehta, chairman and editor in chief of Alfred A Knopf. The book, an account of Blair’s life through the Downing Street years, will be written by Blair. Rebuck and Mehta acquired world rights to the book—including pre-and post-publication serial rights, English language and translation rights, audio and electronic rights—from lawyer Robert B Barnett of Williams & Connolly, who represented Blair in the negotiations. The terms of the agreement are not being disclosed, and a date for publication has not been set.
Blair’s advance would appear to rank second only to the more than $10m reportedly paid to Bill Clinton for his memoir, My Life, published in June 2004, also by Knopf and Hutchinson. Accoording to the New York Times, Random House team beat out bids from British and American arms of several other publishers, including HarperCollins and Penguin, representatives of which were spotted by Mehta courting Blair.
Rebuck said: "We are absolutely delighted to be publishing Tony Blair’s memoirs. He was an extraordinary Prime Minister, and this will be an extraordinary book. It is a great privilege for all of us to be working with him on this unique project."
"Tony Blair is one of the most significant world leaders of the modern era," said Mehta. "He has a remarkable story to tell. His tenure as Prime Minister was marked by close relationships with Presidents Clinton and George W Bush, and he enjoys a profile in this country that is rare among foreign leaders. It is an honour to be working with him as his American publisher."
"I hope my memoirs will provide a serious and thoughtful, but also entertaining, reflection on my time as a Member of Parliament and as Prime Minister," saiD Blair. "I look forward to working with Random House UK and Knopf—two of the world's great publishers—on this project."