Biography & Memoir | Prepub Alert, June 2024 Titles

Memoirs from Joan Didion’s personal assistant, Pope Francis, and Francine Prose, plus a new consideration of Harriet Tubman by National Book Award–winning author Tiya Miles.








Devantez, Chelsea. I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This: (But I’m Going To Anyway). Hanover Square: Harlequin. Jun. 2024. 336p. ISBN 9781335455079. $29.99. MEMOIR

Emmy-nominated Devantez (host of the podcast Glamorous Trash and former head writer for The Problem with Jon Stewart) offers a memoir focused on the pivotal women—some close friends, some strangers—who helped shape her life. Told in an intimate voice, and through essays, it is at once confessional, funny, and intimate.

Elwood, Phil. All the Worst Humans: How I Made News for Dictators, Tycoons, and Politicians. Holt. Jun. 2024. 272p. ISBN 9781250321572. $28.99. MEMOIR

A PR operative who spent decades as part of the $129-billion industry that manipulates the public narrative writes a tell-all that details his work helping support Gaddafi and Assad—and a parade of others. Until one day the FBI shows up and he professes an about face.

Leadbeater, Cory. The Uptown Local: Joy, Death, and Joan Didion: A Memoir. Ecco: HarperCollins. Jun. 2024. 224p. ISBN 9780063371576. $28. MEMOIR

In his debut, Leadbeater details his work as personal assistant to Joan Didion. Swept into her rarified world, he is anchored as well to a harsher reality—a father in prison, roaring insecurities, and clear fault lines of class. His near decade with Didion limns the privileged artistic life and the creation of a life one wants.

Pope Francis. Life: My Story Through History. HarperOne. Mar. 2024. 208p. tr. from Italian by Aubrey Botsford. ISBN 9780063387522. $29.99. MEMOIR

Pope Francis offers a memoir of his life, looking back through history to WWII and taking readers through his personal history as well. Across 80 years, Pope Francis has witnessed war, the moon shot, and political and religious upheaval. He details momentous events in his life and offers a message about the future of the world.

Mattoo, Priyanka. Bird Milk & Mosquito Bones: A Memoir. Knopf. Jun. 2024. 304p. ISBN 9780593320389. $29. MEMOIR

Mattoo, a cofounder of the women-led podcast network Earios, writes about her journey from a wooden house in the Himalayas to Los Angeles. Forced to flee Kashmir in 1989, Mattoo kept moving for 40 years, living in 32 different places, including Italy, England, and Saudia Arabia, before finally arriving in the U.S.

Meacham, Jon. The Call To Serve: The Life of President George Herbert Walker Bush; A Visual Biography. Random House. Jun. 2024. 384p. ISBN 9780593729458. $45. BIOG

Meacham, the Pulitzer Prize–winning biographer who has written about Abraham Lincoln, John Lewis, and Thomas Jefferson, returns to the subject of George H.W. Bush, after Destiny and Power. To mark the 100th anniversary of Bush’s birth, Meacham delivers a 450-photo-rich text that mines Destiny but adds a new introduction and commentary throughout.

Miles, Tiya. Night Flyer: Harriet Tubman and the Faith Dreams of a Free People. Penguin Pr. (Significations). Jun. 2024. 240p. ed. by Henry Louis Gates Jr. ISBN 9780593491164. $30. BIOG

The National Book Award–winning author of All That She Carried returns with a nuanced and newly fashioned biography of Harriet Tubman, searching beyond her legendary status to find a deeper way to understand and learn from her. Part of the “Significations” series edited Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Nenquimo, Nemonte. We Will Be Jaguars: A Memoir of My People. Abrams. Jun. 2024. 288p. ISBN 9781419763779. $28. MEMOIR

A leader of the Waorani people and winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize, named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People, Nenquimo writes about her childhood growing up in the Amazon rainforest and her work as one of the leading figures in climate change activism.

O’Neill, Tracy. Woman of Interest: A Memoir. HarperOne. Jun. 2024. 256p. ISBN 9780063309869. $28.99. MEMOIR

A National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 writer turns to nonfiction in a personal story of finding her birth mother during the COVID outbreak, a stranger she worried might be dying in South Korea. Writing it like a mystery novel, O’Neill details what happens when the PI she hires vanishes and she picks up the investigation herself.

Powers, Ann. Traveling: On the Path of Joni Mitchell. Dey Street. Jun. 2024. 448p. ISBN 9780062463722. $35. BIOG

NPR’s music critic offers an exploration of how Joni Mitchell came to her sense of self and music, while at the same time reflecting on Powers’s own engagement with Mitchell’s journey. Based on interviews and archival research, she offers a peripatetic biography that is as questioning of the genre as it is of its subject.

Prose, Francine. 1974: A Personal History. Harper. Jun. 2024. 272p. ISBN 9780063314092. $27.99. MEMOIR

Award-winning Prose writes her first memoir, setting it in the ’70s and detailing her relationship with activist Anthony Russo, of the Pentagon Papers fame. She was in her 20s, driving around San Francisco at night, hearing his theories and stories, and forming herself as an artist—and coming of age in a radically changing world.

Rucker, Darius. Life’s Too Short: A Memoir. Dey Street. May 2024. 256p. ISBN 9780063238749. $29.99. MEMOIR

Grammy Award–winning musician Rucker (Hootie & the Blowfish) offers a lyric memoir told through 23 songs: his own music, of course, but also works by Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, R.E.M., KISS, and Prince. It is a tale of becoming a musician and of navigating the blazing life of art and fame. With a 125K-copy first printing. 

Telfer, CeCé. Make It Count: My Fight To Become the First Transgender Olympic Runner. Grand Central. Jun. 2024. 288p. ISBN 9781538756249. $30. BIOG

The first openly transgender woman to win a NCAA title, Telfer writes about her battle to be considered on her own terms. Along the way, she recounts her childhood in Jamaica, her search for a running coach, her move to the U.S., and her training for the Olympics. With a 75K-copy first printing. 

Woods, Randall. John Quincy Adams: A Man for the Whole People. Dutton. Jun. 2024. 672p. ISBN 9780593187241. $42. BIOG

Historian Woods (Univ. of Arkansas; LBJ: Architect of American Ambition) pens a mammoth political and intellectual biography of President John Quincy Adams, exploring his extraordinary upbringing—he sat by Voltaire at the opera and was intertwined with Washington, Jefferson, Franklin and more—and his multivarious roles in the formation of the United States.

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