Weidenfeld & Nicolson has scooped Sir Trevor McDonald’s autobiography for a “significant” six-figure sum, taking readers through pivotal moments in history alongside personal reflections and stories.
The much-loved broadcaster, who turns 80 this year, will also narrate the unabridged audio version of An Improbable Life, out on 17th October. Chairman and publisher for the Orion imprint, Alan Samson, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Robert Caskie at Caskie Mushens, in association with Anita Land.
McDonald will tell his extraordinary life story, which has included witnessing war, death, huge global events and meetings with famous, sometimes infamous, figures.
He explained: “I am absolutely thrilled to have finally completed an account of my life that I have long wanted to write. I count myself very fortunate to have done all these things. And I am equally thrilled that Weidenfeld & Nicolson are excited to be publishing it.”
The book includes his trip to South Africa where he obtained the first British television interview with Nelson Mandela, reflections on the Windrush generation and experiencing Barack Obama’s inauguration as US President. He also recounts his meeting with Saddam Hussein, the only one by a British television correspondent, and Colonel Gaddafi, alongside first-hand experiences of the Troubles in Northern Ireland and Death Row in an American prison.
Samson said: “Integrity, authority and powerful storytelling – the hallmarks of Sir Trevor’s long and distinguished career as an international reporter and broadcaster – anchor and illuminate his memoir. All of us at Weidenfeld & Nicolson and the Orion Publishing Group are proud to be his publisher.”
Born in Trinidad in 1939, McDonald has worked for ITN, Channel 4 and the BBC. In 1992 he became sole presenter of “News at Ten” and was awarded the OBE the same year. A knighthood followed in 1999.
Caskie said: “It is such a privilege to work with Sir Trevor, a man full of wit and wisdom - utterly modest and a true gentleman. This book vividly captures great moments in history as well as revealing very personal reflections and stories. W&N are the perfect home for this very special book and I am thrilled it will be published by them.”