Actor Russell Tovey will read the audiobook for terminally ill playwright Joe Hammond’s forthcoming memoir, A Short History of Falling: Everything I’ve Observed About Love Whilst Dying.
The audio version to the book - dubbed "unforgettable" by the actor - will be published alongside the hardback and e-book editions on Thursday 5th September, by 4th Estate.
“Searingly beautiful, profound and unforgettable, A Short History of Falling is the story of love, fatherhood, and what it means to lose your body and your connections to the world one by one,” 4th Estate said. “It is the story of Joe Hammond’s experience of living with – and dying of – motor neurone disease (ALS).”
As reported last November, Helen Garnons-Williams, then publishing director at 4th Estate, pre-empted world rights to the memoir within 24 hours of receiving the proposal from Will Francis at Janklow & Nesbit, offering within 24 hours of receiving the proposal. Garnons-Williams was promoted to associate publisher at the HarperCollins imprint in July.
Hammond, a father-of-two, wrote about living with his illness in the Guardian in September, which was followed by a fundraiser for living costs. He took part in the Royal Court Studio Writers' Group in 2012, having previously been mentored by the theatre and BBC. His debut London production 'Where the Mangrove Grows' played at Theatre503 in south London seven years ago and was later published by Bloomsbury.
HarperCollins’ senior audio editor Jack Chalmers said: “Russell Tovey’s narration of The Short History of Falling is sublime. Just as Joe takes the the reader on an astonishing, luminous journey through his experience, Russell guides the listener through that journey with expert and heartfelt poise. We’re so excited for listeners to discover Joe’s beautiful words through Russell’s moving performance.”
Tovey added: "It’s an incredible honour to bring Joe's words to life for the audiobook of A Short History of Falling. In this unforgettable book, Joe shows us how great beauty, love and life can be found in the darkest of times. It's one of the most powerful and moving books I have ever read, and it's truly changed the way I think about and move through my own life.”
The actor is best known for starring in “The History Boys” film in 2006 as well as BBC’s “Being Human” series (2008-2012), “Him & Her” and “The Lady in the Van”.