Weidenfeld & Nicolson has acquired the memoir of comedian, actor, singer-songwriter and founding member of "Monty Python" Eric Idle.
In Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: A Sortabiography (named after the song he wrote for "Life of Brian"), Idle will share highlights of his life with characteristic "offbeat humour", from his childhood spent in a charity boarding school through to his successful career in radio, comedy, television, theatre and film.
W&N describes the book as "a laugh-out-loud romp, chock-full of behind-the-scenes stories from a high-flying life that features everyone from Princess Leia to the Queen", promising anecdotes featuring "close friends" such as David Bowie, George Harrison, Mick Jagger, Steve Martin, Robin Williams, Paul Simon and Mike Nichols.
Although Idle has written a number of books, including his US tour diary The Greedy Bastard Diary: A Comic Tour of America (2014, W&N) and "post-modern" novel Road to Mars (2000, Pan), the book is Idle's first autobiography, making it in W&N's estimation "the last word in Python memoirs".
Ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Pythons in 2019, it will publish in print, digital and audio formats in October 2018. PRH US imprint Crown Archetype is publishing in the US.
Alan Samson, non-fiction publisher at Weidenfeld & Nicolson, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Caspian Dennis at Abner Stein on behalf of Simon Green and CAA. Tricia Boczkowski, vice-president and editorial director of Crown Archetype acquired US and Canada rights from Simon Green and CAA.
Idle, based in LA, commented: "We used to be babe magnets. Now we’re fridge magnets. I thought it was time to tell my tale before I suffer from Hamnesia, which is what happens to elderly actors."
Samson said: "Eric’s wonderful autobiography is laugh-out-loud funny, honest, insightful and emotionally intelligent. It also has a helpful summary at the beginning: 'Life has a very simple plot. First you’re here and then you’re not.' But along the way there are truly great stories involving David Bowie, George Harrison, Mick Jagger and Robin Williams. His book also illuminates the formation and development of the Monty Python team who redefined comedy nearly 50 years ago. We are all thrilled to be publishing Eric’s brilliant memoir on the Weidenfeld list."