Penguin signs up Walliams memoir

Penguin has signed one of its big non-fiction titles for Christmas 2012, winning a hotly contested auction for a memoir by "Little Britain" star David Walliams.

Katy Follain, Michael Joseph non-fiction publisher, and Louise Moore, managing director of Michael Joseph, beat around six publishers to win world rights to the as-yet-untitled autobiography.

The publisher is believed to have paid £1.1m for the rights. Follain declined to comment on the figure, but said a "healthy advance" was paid.

The deal was signed through Paul Stevens at Independent Talent. Michael Joseph is planning to publish the memoir in September 2012. Walliams said: "The book will be an honest, intimate and most of all funny telling of my life story. I can't wait to get started."

Walliams is best known for his work with collaborator Matt Lucas in the shows "Little Britain" and "Come Fly with Me". He first appeared with Lucas on comedy duo Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer's show "Bang Bang It's Reeves and Mortimer" in the late 1990s. Their first show as a double act, "Rock Profiles", was broadcast on the digital channel UK Play in 1999.

Walliams is already a published author with HarperCollins, releasing three children's books to date. Mr Stink, illustrated by Quentin Blake, won Walliams the Children's Award in the inaugural People's Book Prize in 2010.

Follain said: "David Walliams is a fascinating individual. It will be very interesting to go on this journey with him into his past and open up the real David Walliams, the one behind the make-up, the wigs, the prosthetics and the catchphrases.

"Crucially, he's a wonderful writer and has a sublime command of the English language. His memoir promises to be one of those evocative and delightful reads of real depth and wisdom."