Award-winning screenwriter Abi Morgan’s memoir, which follows family life after her partner's sudden illness, has gone to John Murray for “a strong six-figures".
Publisher Jocasta Hamilton acquired UK and Commonwealth rights to This is Not a Pity Memoir from Eugenie Furniss and Cathy King at 42 Management and Production following an auction. John Murray will publish in May 2022. It is Morgan's first book.
“This is a memoir about an ordinary day that marks the end of ordinary life,” John Murray said. “When Abi found Jacob, her partner of 18 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.
“Like the very best memoirs, This is Not a Pity Memoir is at once shocking, devastating and utterly singular, but written with such warmth and honesty that it has the power to touch and transform the lives of thousands of readers. It’s a book that looks at what makes us who we are, our ability to shape-shift and adapt, at how the brain and memory works, and how we deal with the unexpected. Shot through with Abi’s determination to celebrate life, and the belief that, even on the worst days, there’s light ahead, more than anything, this is a love story.”
Morgan is a Bafta and Emmy-winning playwright and screenwriter, whose work includes “Sex Traffic”, “The Hour”, “Shame”, “Brick Lane”, “The Iron Lady” and “Suffragette”. She is currently working on the third series three of legal drama “The Spilt” for the BBC, a show she created and writes.
Hamilton said: “This Is Not a Pity Memoir floored me. It’s devastating in ways you wouldn’t believe possible if it were fiction but, despite everything, Abi is the most brilliant company and incredibly relatable: honest, angry and scared, and prone to the terror unleashed by endless late-night Googling. It’s a gravity-defying reminder of what we’re capable of and the toughest and most tender love story. I think it’s destined to become a classic.”
Morgan commented: “Writing for the screen can be brutal. 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.”