Sceptre has pre-empted Hollywood Park, a memoir by musician and writer Mikel Jollett, frontman of indie band The Airborne Toxic Event.
Francine Toon, commissioning editor at Sceptre, acquired British Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, from Peggy Boulos Smith on behalf of Susan Golomb of Writers House, to publish in the UK on 1st October 2020. The book was published in the US by Celadon, in May 2020, where it debuted at number eight on the New York Times bestseller list for non-fiction and was picked as an Amazon Best Book for the month.
In Hollywood Park, Jollett chronicles a personal journey "of resilience and reinvention", according to Sceptre, beginning in the cult of Synanon, notorious in 1970s California, escaping into a life of poverty before winning a scholarship to Stanford and becoming a successful music journalist, and critically acclaimed musician. His band, The Airborne Toxic Event, has released an accompanying album of the same name, inspired by Jollett’s life story.
Other challenges for Jollett were coping with his mother's chronic depression and being left to navigate a world of neglect, poverty, addiction and abuse, before his father, an ex-con and recovering heroin addict, re-entered the picture for the better.
Prior to forming The Airborne Toxic Event, Jollett graduated with honors from Stanford University. He was an on-air columnist for NPR’s "All Things Considered", an editor-at-large for Men’s Health, and an editor at Filter magazine. His fiction has also been published in McSweeney’s.
Jollett said: "We always had a romance with the UK, growing up, a couple of white trash kids in a garage in Oregon. We discovered David Bowie and Robert Smith and it was like the UK was where magic happens, there are ideas and fashion and literature and music, it’s only an ocean away. So to be published in the UK by Sceptre is not only exciting, it feels like the completion of a very long journey. I couldn’t be happier."
Toon said: "After its outstanding success in the US, I am thrilled to be publishing Hollywood Park in the UK and for Sceptre to be part of a truly innovative campaign that includes the accompanying album, 'Hollywood Park', by The Airborne Toxic Event. From the memoir’s heartbreaking opening line, ‘We were never young’, I was transfixed by the powerful lyricism of Mikel Jollett’s words and his ability to take the reader on an extraordinary journey that navigates trauma, addiction and poverty. It is about the survival of not only a cult and food banks, but also the dizzying heights of academia.
"Most of all I fell for the tenacity, spirit and imagination of Mikel Jollett’s journey, that leads him to achieve his wildest dreams. From escaping into the music of Robert Smith to meeting him in person. From watching touring bands, to standing on stage himself. From living like an orphan to becoming a father. I cannot wait to share this incredible story that announces an impressive new literary voice."