Publishers battle for Townshend and Walliams books

Publishers battle for Townshend and Walliams books

The Who guitarist Pete Townshend and "Little Britain" star David Walliams are the latest figures to have memoirs put in front of publishers, as the trade shows no sign of losing its appetite for celebrity autobiographies.

Ed Victor is handling world English-language rights for the Townshend memoir, and is confident of concluding a deal for the book within the next week. If published, Town­shend would join a band of rock legends that have published popular memoirs in recent years.

Macmillan enjoyed success with Rolling Stones and former Faces guitarist Ronnie Wood's autobiography ­Ronnie in 2007, selling 130,231 copies across all editions to date. His fellow band member Keith Richards had one of the more notable memoirs last Christmas with Life. The Weidenfeld & Nicolson title has sold 300,198 copies in hardback to date.

Townshend formed The Who in the early 1960s, and the band is seen as one of most influential of all time, boasting hits such as "My Generation" and "Baba O'Riley" alongside 11 studio albums.

Waterstone's spokesman Jon Howells said: "He was an incredible creative force and an icon—up there with Keith Richards, Roger Waters and John Lennon. This will be a massive book if published."

Meanwhile, publishers are also looking at a memoir by David Walliams, already a ­successful children's author. Bidding opened at a high six-figure level. He has written three books, which are published by Harper­Collins' Children's Books; Mr Stink, The Boy in the Dress and ­Billionaire Boy.

Of the memoir's potential, Howells said: "He's proven to be a great writer with his children's books and he's been really committed to publicity on their publication."