Century will publish Would It Surprise You to Know..?, the "extraordinary" memoir from "Antiques Roadshow" expert Ronnie Archer-Morgan, written with historian and biographer Janet Gleeson.
Zennor Compton, senior commissioning editor for Century Non-Fiction, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights at auction from Gordon Wise at Curtis Brown following an introduction by the late Christopher Little. The book will be published on 23rd June 2022 in hardback and e-book, with a simultaneous audiobook publication from Penguin Random House Audio.
Archer-Morgan has been a regular contributor to BBC One’s flagship programme "Antiques Roadshow" for the last 10 years. In his memoir, he will share his own "fascinating and unexpected" backstory, as well as detailing some of his most exciting antique finds and the special meanings they have for him.
Archer-Morgan was born in the 1950s to a mother battling mental health problem and spent most of his childhood in and out of care across the UK. The publisher said: "From run ins with gangs to ending up on the wrong side of the police, the author's life has taken unexpected turns, from stints in music as a DJ to a celebrity hairdresser for Vidal Sassoon and Smile in the height of seventies London. He learned the ins and outs of the antiques trade by exploring local shops and markets, eventually leading him to act as a consultant to Sotheby’s. He later started his own Knightsbridge gallery, culminating in a regular spot as an expert on 'Antiques Roadshow'. His story comes full circle with a chance encounter on the set of 'Antiques Roadshow' in 2017, when a pair of Sooty and Sweep puppets led to an emotional reunion with a childhood friend from his time spent in the UK’s care system after almost 63 years apart."
Archer-Morgan said: "I’m delighted to be published by Penguin Random House, rubbing shoulders with some of the greatest writers. I keep having to pinch myself to check that it’s real. People have told me for years that I should tell my life story and it finally feels like the right time."
Compton commented: "Ronnie will be a familiar face for millions of Antiques Roadshow viewers but they won’t know the many twists and turns his life took before he graced our screens. Would It Surprise You to Know..? is one of those wide-ranging and serendipitous life stories that only come along once in a while and I’m delighted to be publishing Ronnie’s by turns heart breaking, inspirational, nostalgic and quirky memoir next year."