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Prince announced the surprise project — his first book — from the stage at an intimate show in New York City on March 18. “We’re starting from the beginning from my first memory and hopefully we can go all the way up to the Super Bowl,” he said, referring to his 2007 performance that many consider the greatest Super Bowl halftime show of all time.
The musical legend was working with The Paris Review web editor Dan Piepenbring on The Beautiful Ones (tentative title), which was slated for publication in fall 2017 via Random House imprint Spiegel & Grau and set to be edited by Spiegel & Grau executive editor Chris Jackson, who previously edited Ta-Nehisi Coates’ No. 1 New York Times best-seller Between the World and Me.
It’s unclear if any of the plans for Prince’s memoir will change. Random House and ICM Partners, which represented Prince in the book deal, told The Hollywood Reporter they are not commenting at this time. ICM’s Esther Newberg told The Wall Street Journal last month that Prince already had turned in the first 50 pages — if he had been recording his memories for Piepenbring to fashion into text (a common tactic for celebrity memoirs), then it is possible that more hours of tape exist to extend his story beyond those 50 pages. But if Prince was writing a draft from scratch, there might be less material for Piepenbring to work with. The writer did not return a request for comment.
What’s certain is that any eventual output related to the original project will certainly draw even more attention now, as it will stand as the last authorized biography of the legendary artist. Publisher Judith Regan (who is not affiliated with the deal) said that if she were involved with the project, she’d push to bring the book out as soon as possible.
In recent years, Latin superstar Jenni Rivera’s memoir Unbreakable was released posthumously, seven months after she was killed in a December 2012 plane crash. In that case, the singer had finished her work on the book just before her death, and Unbreakable went on to become a best-seller, reaching No. 12 on Amazon with the Spanish-language version, Inquebrantable, hitting No. 2 overall.
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