Faber wins story of Nina Simone memento

Faber wins story of Nina Simone memento

Faber is to publish musician and composer Warren Ellis' debut title, Nina Simone's Gum, featuring an introduction by fellow musician Nick Cave. 

Dan Papps, deputy head of Faber Social, acquired world all languages rights directly from the artist. 

Part memoir, part "celebration of artistic process", the book charts the origins of Ellis' admiration for Simone. The synopsis explains: "On Thursday 1st July, 1999, Dr Nina Simone gave a rare performance as part of Nick Cave’s Meltdown Festival. After the show, in a state of awe, Warren Ellis crept onto the stage, took Dr Simone’s piece of chewed gum from the piano, wrapped it in her stage towel and put it in a Tower Records bag. The gum remained with him for 20 years; a sacred totem, his creative muse, growing in significance with every passing year.

"In 2019, Cave—his collaborator and great friend—asked Warren if there was anything he could contribute to display in his Stranger Than Kindness exhibition. Warren realised the time had come to release the gum. Together they agreed it should be housed in a glass case like a holy relic. Worrying the gum would be damaged or lost, Warren decided to first have it cast in silver and gold, sparking a chain of events that no one could have predicted, one that would take him back to his childhood and his relationship to found objects.

"Nina Simone’s Gum is about how something so small can form beautiful connections between people. It is a story about the meaning we place on things, on experiences, and how they become imbued with spirituality. It is a celebration of artistic process, friendship, understanding and love."

Ellis is an Australian multi-instrumentalist and composer, most famous for his work as collaborator and bandmate of Nick Cave, in both the Bad Seeds and Grinderman. Both solo and alongside Nick. he is also a film composer whose soundtracks include "The Proposition", "The Road", "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford", "Mustang" and most recently "This Train I Ride". His own band Dirty Three have released eight studio albums since 1994 and he is a producer and writer, working with artists including Marianne Faithful, Jupiter and Okwess and Tinariwen.

Commenting on the book, Cave said: "Warren has turned this memento, snatched from his idol’s piano in a moment of rapture, into a genuine religious artefact."

Nina Simone's Gum will be released as a lead title next year.