Weidenfeld & Nicolson will publish Forever Young, a memoir from Oscar-winning actress Hayley Mills about her early years.
Alan Samson, chairman and non-fiction publisher, acquired world English language rights, excluding the US and Canada, from Gordon Wise at Curtis Brown. US rights have been acquired by Gretchen Young of Grand Central.
Mills spent her teenage years in "Tinseltown" and starred in many coming-of-age family movies: "Pollyanna" (1960), "The Parent Trap" (1961), "In Search of the Castaways" (1962), while in the UK she starred in "Whistle Down the Wind" (1961).
Pictured: Mills as a young actress
When Mills was taken to see Walt Disney's restored office, she had the Disney archives opened up to her. She discovered for the first time everything that had gone into shaping her career. As one of the era’s teen idols, she realised she spent a decade not being allowed to grow up and now wants to tell the story of those years in her own words, says the publisher.
Her memoir will tell her story up to age 21, "because that’s when my life became my own — it’s the bit that went before that I want to take back", she said. The story will be "told with characteristic warmth and filled with many fond memories" but will also explore mismanagement, bankruptcy, strained family relationships and dislocation.
Samson said: "The very first film I saw in a cinema was 'Pollyanna', starring Hayley Mills, so I am especially thrilled to welcome her to the W&N list. Forever Young is both a wonderfully evocative insider account of Hollywood under the studio system, where she was notably mentored by Walt Disney himself, but also a coming-of-age memoir by a teenage girl, where family dynamics and growing up play a significant role in the drama."
Mills commented: "I am thrilled to be working with Alan Samson at Weidenfeld & Nicolson and Gretchen Young at Grand Central who have both been incredibly positive and supportive in the writing of this book. Sometimes it takes a lifetime to make sense of one's childhood; Forever Young has taken me back through the looking glass, to those days of wonder and confusion; remembering the rare and exceptional people I was lucky enough to meet and love, while trying to fathom the strange fortuitous events that shaped my family's life."
Forever Young will be published in September 2021 in hardback, trade paperback, e-book and audio.