SPCK signs Sentamu's 'surprising and inspiring' autobiography

SPCK signs Sentamu's 'surprising and inspiring' autobiography

SPCK has signed a “full, frank and fascinating” autobiography by former Archbishop of York John Sentamu.

The publisher bought world rights for Sentamu direct from the author, for publication in spring 2023.

Written in collaboration with award-winning novelist Rhidian Brook, and drawing on extensive interviews as well as unpublished papers, letters and diaries, it promises to reveal the “surprising and inspiring” story of how a boy from a Ugandan village became the first Black Archbishop in the Church of England.

Born in 1949, Sentamu was installed as the 97th Archbishop of York in 2005. Before that he was Bishop of Birmingham, Bishop of Stepney and a parish priest in Tulse Hill, in south London. As Bishop of Stepney he served on the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry team and chaired the Damilola Taylor murder review.

Sentamu’s decision to leave Uganda in 1974 followed a turbulent time when, as an advocate of the High Court of Uganda, he was detained and beaten for challenging the unjust and oppressive rule of Idi Amin.

He said: “Mine is an incredible journey of encountering God in the circumstances of life. Born at 3 a.m. in Mengo Hospital, Kampala, I was not expected to see the sun rising. A bishop who lived nearby on Namirembe Hill, the Hill of Peace, was urgently awakened and he came and baptised me. The rest is history, which I will tell with the help of my good friend, Rhidian Brook.”

Philip Law, publishing director at SPCK, said: “We’re delighted and honoured that Baron Sentamu has chosen to entrust his autobiography to SPCK. This promises to be a full, frank and fascinating memoir, amply reflecting the media-savvy and challenging style in which Sentamu conducted his ministry and promoted the virtues of the gospel.”