Writer and broadcaster Melvyn Bragg's first memoir, Back in the Day, has been signed by Sceptre.
Publishing director Carole Welch acquired UK, Commonwealth and EU rights from Caroline Michel at PFD. It will be published by Sceptre on 26th May 2022 in hardback, e-book and audiobook.
Alongside publication of Back in the Day, Sceptre will be reissuing six of Bragg's novels, all set in Cumbria: For Want of a Nail, Josh Lawton and The Maid of Buttermere will be issued in April 2022, followed by The Second Inheritance, The Silken Net and Without a City Wall in October 2022.
“In Back in the Day, Bragg revisits and reflects on his life spent in the Cumbrian market town of Wigton during the 1940s and 50s,” the blurb reads. “It is the tale of a working-class boy who grew up in a pub and expected to leave school at 15. It covers Melvyn Bragg’s early years alone with his mother while his father fought in the war, the chronic breakdown he experienced when he was 13 and the love of books that saved him, the joys of first romance, and his journey to winning a scholarship at Oxford to study Modern History. It is equally the tale of the people and place that formed him.
"Bragg indelibly portrays his parents and local characters, from pub regulars to vicars, teachers and hardmen, and vividly captures the community-spirited northern town, steeped in the old ways but on the cusp of post-war change.”
Sceptre described it as “a poignant elegy to a vanished era as well as the glories of the Lake District... it illuminates what made him the writer, broadcaster and champion of the arts he is today”.
Bragg said: “This is about my life from the age of six to 18 in the middle of the last century at a time which now seems like another country. It is as vivid to me today as it was back then. This is why I wanted to write this memoir."
Welch said: “In a long and illustrious career as a novelist, Melvyn Bragg has also written several non-fiction books, but until now has never turned to autobiography. It was worth the wait. Back in the Day is a luminous memoir which gives a fascinating insight into Bragg’s upbringing, the people who shaped him and the town and community he grew up in. Sharply observed, evocative and poignant, it celebrates a vanished way of life and a part of the country he loves, which has inspired so much of his fiction.”
Bragg is a writer and broadcaster whose first novel, For Want of a Nail (Sceptre), was published in 1965. His novels have won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, the Time/Life Silver Pen Award, the W H Smith Literary Award and been longlisted for the Booker Prize. He has also written several works of non-fiction. He lives in London and Cumbria.