Nonfiction to look out for in 2023 – The Guardian

January 3, 2023 by No Comments

The first major book event of 2023 was supposed to be the publication of Prince Harry’s long-awaited (OK, opinions may vary) memoir, Spare (Penguin, January). But that was before a certain six-hour Netflix show, as a result of which it seems highly unlikely his literary effort will contain anything we haven’t heard already. So let us, having spared only the briefest of thoughts for his livid publisher, turn our attention instead to some other forthcoming memoirs, in what looks set to be a bumper year for autobiography. At the top of my list are Metamorphosis: A Life in Pieces by Robert Douglas-Fairhurst (Cape, February), a brilliant account of one man’s tilted world following a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, and Good Girls: A Story and Study of Anorexia (4th Estate, April) by Hadley Freeman, which does what it says on the tin with all of its author’s usual wit and insight. I’m eager to read Blake Morrison’s Two Sisters (Borough Press, February), an account of sibling relationships that will be published 30 years after his classic And When Did You Last See Your Father?, while fans of another poet, Don Paterson, should look out for his memoir, Toy Fights: A Boyhood (Faber, January).

Several excellent music books are headed our way in 2023. I’m enjoying an early proof of Quartet: How Four Women Changed the Musical World (Faber, March), an account by Leah Broad of the trailblazing lives and careers of the musicians and composers Ethel Smyth, Rebecca Clarke, Dorothy Howell and Doreen Carwithen; and of course I can’t wait for Goodbye Russia: Rachmaninoff in Exile (Faber, June) by our own Fiona Maddocks. In a long career, Tony King has been fixer, confidante and muse to, among others, the Beatles, Elton John and Tom Jones, and he has now written a book about the glory of it all: The Tastemaker: My Life With the Legends and Geniuses of Rock (Faber, February). Arrangements in Blue by Amy Key (Cape, April) isn’t strictly a music book, but its author, a poet, uses Joni Mitchell’s album Blue as her guide in a memoir about love, loneliness and the unexpected life. It will also be fun to read Masquerade, a new life of Noel Coward by Oliver Soden (W&N, March), as famous for his songs as his plays.

My polemic of the year is Victoria Smith’s righteously angry Hags: The Demonisation of Middle-Aged Women

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