Weidenfeld & Nicolson has acquired Sins of My Father: A Daughter, a Cult, a Wild Unravelling, a "dazzling" literary memoir from Lily Dunn about her attempt to unravel the mysteries of her late father's life.
When Dunn was six years old, her father left the family home to follow his guru to India, trading domestic life for the promise of enlightenment with the cult of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. Since then he has been a mystery to her, W&N said. She grew up "enthralled by the image of him; effervescent, ambitious and elusive, a writer, publisher and entrepreneur, a man who would appear with gifts from faraway places, and with whom she spent the long, hot summers of her teenage years in Italy, in the company of his wild and wealthy friends. Yet he was also a compulsive liar, a delinquent, a man who abandoned his responsibilities in a pursuit of transcendence that took him from sex addiction, via the Rajneesh cult, to a relentless chase of money, which ended in ruin and finally addiction to alcohol and prescription drugs."
Sins of My Father is billed as a "detective story that charts two colliding narratives", following a daughter’s attempt to unravel the mysteries of a father who believed himself to be beyond reproach.
Jenny Lord, publisher, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Cathryn Summerhayes at Curtis Brown, with publication scheduled for March 2022.
Lord commented: "Sins of My Father is a memoir with multiple facets, but at its heart it is an interrogation of whether it is possible to continue to love someone who has caused incredible damage—a question that so many of us wrestle with. Lily’s writing is dazzling, and her story has the kind of intoxicating forward momentum that keeps you glued to your seat. We are so excited to publish her here at W&N."
Dunn is a lecturer in creative writing and narrative non-fiction at Bath Spa University and the author of Shadowing the Sun (Portobello Books, 2008), and co-editor, with Zoe Gilbert, of A Wild And Precious Life (Unbound, 2021), an anthology of recovery stories. Of her latest book deal, she said: "Jenny showed interest within the first week of my book going out on submission and when we met I loved her vision, and immediately knew she was the right editor for me. I am full of admiration for what W&N are doing for literary memoir, and am beyond thrilled to be part of their list."