Boris Johnson is to write a biography of William Shakespeare for Hodder & Stoughton for October 2016.
The publisher has confirmed the deal, which was reported in the Sunday Times to have been done for £500,000. The newspaper reported that Johnson’s advance was almost seven times his salary as an MP, which is £74,000.
Last year Johnson authored a biography of Winston Churchill, The Churchill Factor, for Hodder. It has sold 187,568 copies through Nielsen BookScan, for a value of just over £2.6m so far.
The book will coincide with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Other books marking the anniversary include a series of retellings of some of Shakespeare’s most famous plays by authors including Jo Nesbo, Jeanette Winterson and Edward St Aubyn, published by the Hogarth Shakespeare.
Meanwhile James Shapiro’s 1606: William Shakespeare and the Year of Lear (Faber & Faber), due out on 7th April, will explore the year that Shakespeare published King Lear, Macbeth, and Antony and Cleopatra. Globe: Life in Shakespeare’s London (Simon & Schuster) by Catharine Arnold, will be a portrait of Shakespeare and London, and is also due out on 7th April.
The Sunday Times said that Hachette in the US, which published The Churchill Factor, “has been keen for him to write a follow-up to his Churchill book, which sold well in America”.