Century is publishing a book by "Forces' Sweetheart" Dame Vera Lynn, based in part on a secret wartime diary she kept.
Keep Smiling Through: My Wartime Burma Story - written with her daughter, Virginia Lewis-Jones - will be "powerful and life-affirming" account of the time she spent with troops in wartime Burma. Based on a diary she kept, alongside unpublished personal letters and photographs from surviving veterans and their families, it will explore why it was such a life-defining event for her and show how her presence helped the soldiers, airmen and others who heard her sing.
Dame Vera this year celebrated her 100th birthday, a milestone that, combined with the release of a BBC documentary about her life, saw sales of a newly released album to mark the occasion sell 90,000 copies.
Ajda Vucicevic, senior editor at Century acquired UK and Commonwealth rights including audio from Andrew Gordon of David Higham Associates.
Dame Vera and Virginia Lewis-Jones said in a joint statement: “The Burma trip to entertain the troops has stayed with me all my life, and it has been amazing in recent years to receive so many letters and recollections from soldiers who were out there and who heard me sing. We are thrilled to have the chance to combine all these wonderful stories and delighted to be working with Century and Random House.”
Vucicevic said: “Dame Vera Lynn is an icon to so many brave people during an extraordinary period. Her star has shone throughout generations including mine, and I could not be prouder to be publishing her remarkable book to mark and celebrate her 100th birthday.”
Keep Smiling Through will publish in hardback and in e-book on 16th November 2017 and paperback on 22nd February 2018.