The press release had more than an air of triumph about it. Penguin Random House announced that it will publish Bono’s memoir Surrender — and let’s face it, the book release is likely to be one of the big publishing events of the year.

nd Bono’s side of the story comes with plenty of bells and whistles. The U2 frontman announced the publication of the book with the release of 40 original drawings and an animated video narrated by the man himself. By the time the book comes out in November, there’s a very good chance the public will have wrung itself out on Surrender hype.

Bono, who has lived a life less ordinary than your average 62-year-old Northsider, will have plenty of material to write about. A longstanding figure of curiosity, this book is likely to do seriously brisk business, irrespective of whether his songwriting nous translates to the written page.

Though no financial details of the book deal have been released, it’s fair to assume that Bono joins a long list of illustrious celebs who signed significant deals to write about themselves. Famously, the Obamas received $65 million for their 2017 memoirs, Becoming and A Promised Land; Britney Spears’ unnamed memoir, due for release later this year, signed for an estimated $15 million.

To the average writer, these figures are almost unfathomable. According to, creative writers in Ireland earn around €26,000 per year. It doesn’t require much of a leap to wonder about how many writers’ careers could be bolstered, and what kind of contribution to literature could happen, with the sort of eye-watering advances of those whose contracts are offered based on a high profile.

Massive book advances also mean that publishers tend to throw their marketing weight behind these titles, in order to make good on their investment. If you’re a writer that’s acquainted with the slush pile and the vagaries of pitching, it must be slightly galling to see high-profile celebrities seemingly wish for a book deal, and for the book to be gearing up for release not long after.

According to a report in the Guardian newspaper, comedians and YouTubers have rushed into the market in the last couple of years, some signing six-figure deals, while professional authors’ advances have slipped to as low as three and four figures.

The dominance of celebrity titles in the book market should ideally be a good thing for all involved: all boats rising, room for everyone, and all that. Yet the sheer number of celebrity books — some of which only serve to propel the star’s personal brand, and not much more — mean that in reality, authors struggle not just for book advance and marketing money, but shelf space.

And yet the fact remains: the book business is, first and foremost, a business. The predictions business within the creative industries is famously risk-averse. In the toss-up between a newcomer who is an untested entity and may or may not succeed, and a superstar with a fanbase of millions, it doesn’t take a Pulitzer winner to figure out who a publishing company might stack their chips on.

Time will tell whether Bono’s memoir will be a masterclass in navel-gazing.

But a (it says here) ‘fearless’, ‘honest’ and ‘intimate’ look inside the head of someone that absolutely everyone on this island has an opinion on, one way or the other — it will take an iron will not to have your head turned by that.

Wagatha Christie trial is grubby theatre


Rebekah Vardy arrives at the Royal Courts Of Justice

Rebekah Vardy arrives at the Royal Courts Of Justice

Rebekah Vardy arrives at the Royal Courts Of Justice

Rebekah Vardy arrives at the Royal Courts Of Justice

If you thought that ‘salacious’ was bestowed a whole new meaning amid the Johnny Depp v Amber Heard defamation trial, you’ve seen nothing yet. The ‘Wagatha Christie’ trial, in which Rebekah Vardy is accusing fellow WAG Coleen Rooney of defaming her in the High Court, is next-level titillation.

Already, Rebekah Vardy has been forced to revisit an unsavoury episode in which she described the manhood of an ex-lover Peter Andre as a ‘miniature chipolata’. More recently, it was revealed in court that Vardy allowed her agent to leak stories, including one about a well-known female celebrity ‘shagging’ a footballer behind his wife’s back. It’s likely to get even more crass from there. Much as they did with Heard v Depp, celebrity fans have naturally revelled in this unprecedented access to famous lives. To which the only sensible question is: why, in a bid to ‘clear her name’ as a leaker of false stories about another woman, is Rebekah Vardy prepared to drag so much salacious detail back screaming into the daylight?

Neither party looks likely to cover themselves in glory by the time this trial reaches its end, to put it mildly. The case, playing out in the High Court, is also expected to cost plenty for both women, who refused to reach a settlement out of court. The only winners here look set to be those who enjoy this grubby, tit-for-tat theatre. Oh, and the lawyers, of course.

Stop the Britney nude shaming

Britney Spears

The reaction to a post-conservatorship Britney Spears posting full frontal naked pictures of herself on Instagram has elicited a curious response. When Emily Ratajkowski or Kim Kardashian do it, they’re empowered; when Britney does similar, it’s a different story. “This girl she is sick, she is crying for help,” one fan wrote under the Instagram post, while another said: “I’m pretty sure that conservatorship was in place for a reason.” Radical thought — maybe it’s just a naked body, and a woman expressing her sexuality, and nothing more than that? Maybe let’s do away with the nude shaming?

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