'Unflinching' Deborah Orr memoir to W&N

'Unflinching' Deborah Orr memoir to W&N

Weidenfeld & Nicolson has pre-empted a "sharp" and "unflinching" memoir by journalist Deborah Orr, exploring her relationship with her mother that resulted in a diagnosis of Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The book is described by W&N as "often humourous" yet "about the long-shadow that can be cast when the core relationship in your life compromises every effort you make to become an individual".

It talks about Orr's escape from her hometown of Motherwell to go to university, something her mother Win had "railed against" having "wanted Deborah with her at all times". Three years after her mother died, Orr was diagnosed with Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, caused by "sustained exposure to what she now believes to have been the narcissistic abuse she suffered at the hands of her mother".

Jenny Lord, publishing director for Weidenfeld & Nicolson Non-fiction, pre-empted UK and Commonwealth rights from Clare Conville at C+W.

Commenting on the deal, she said: "Motherwell made me angry, it made me sad, it made me laugh out loud and it made me desperate to understand the incomparable and deeply overwhelming Win – a woman who leaps off the page and grips you by the throat. Deborah is an extraordinary storyteller with a dazzlingly clear voice and we are hugely excited to be publishing Motherwell."

Orr's work has appeared in the Guardian, the Independent, The Sunday Times and in magazines including Vogue, Grazia and Marie Claire. She is also a contributing editor to AnOther Magazine and was the first female editor of the Guardian's Weekend Magazine aged 30, and a co-creator of "Enquirer", a play commissioned by the National Theatre of Scotland, performed in London, Glasgow and Belfast, broadcast by Radio 4.

She commented: "If it wasn’t for all the dark brooding about my mother that was involved, I’d be able lustily to declare how thrilled and proud I am that Weidenfeld is publishing my first book."

Motherwell will be published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson in hardback and e-book in March 2020.