News | Penguin Random House | New York, 05/12/2022

Penguin Random House Announces Bono Memoir

Penguin Random House has secured the rights to U2 singer Bono's memoir for its English-language publishers. “Surrender” will be released worldwide on November 1. In it, Bono talks about his youth and U2’s rise to success, as well as about his personal life and his commitment to fighting AIDS and poverty.

Much has been written about him, and now Bono, lead singer of the popular rock band U2, has written about his remarkable life himself for the first time. Bono's memoir is titled “Surrender,” and on November 1 of this year, Penguin Random House will publish the work simultaneously through its publishers Knopf in the U.S. and Canada, and Penguin Random House UK in the U.K. and Ireland, the home of Bono and U2. In addition to the book version, the singer himself will also narrate the audiobook of his memoir, to be published by Penguin Random House Audio. 

In “Surrender,” Bono, real name Paul David Hewson and now 62 years old, talks about his youth in Dublin and the sudden loss of his mother when he was 14, and about U2's amazing progression from local Irish band to becoming one of the most influential rock bands in the world. However, in his book Bono also talks about his more than 20-year commitment to fighting AIDS and poverty. As the publisher Knopf notes in its announcement of the book on Tuesday, Bono's birthday, the celebrated musician also writes with “candor, self-reflection and humor” about his personal life and his family, his friends and his faith – factors that have sustained, challenged, and shaped him. 

“Surrender” is subtitled “40 Songs, One Story,” a nod to the book’s forty chapters, each named after a U2 song. Bono also created forty original drawings for “Surrender,” and an animated video, narrated by Bono and based on some of his drawings, was released on Tuesday across U2’s digital platforms. The video illustrates an extract from the book’s chapter “Out of Control,” in which Bono tells the story of writing U2’s first single on his 18th birthday, May 10, 1978. 

“All of the passion that Bono brings to his music and his life he also brings to the page,” says Arthur, who is also Bono’s editor. “Seven years ago, another legend, the late Knopf editor Sonny Mehta, acquired the book, because he knew Bono fits into the tradition of literary Irish storytellers, and we were lucky to have Sonny’s notes on an early draft of the manuscript. We’re luckier still that Bono not only has a dramatic personal history to tell, but he’s also a truly gifted writer. “Surrender” is honest, intimate, irreverent, and profound—a dazzling memoir of a remarkable life.” 

Says Bono, “When I started to write this book, I was hoping to draw in detail what I’d previously only sketched in songs. The people, places, and possibilities in my life. Surrender is a word freighted with meaning for me. Growing up in Ireland in the seventies with my fists up (musically speaking), it was not a natural concept. A word I only circled until I gathered my thoughts for the book. I am still grappling with this most humbling of commands. In the band, in my marriage, in my faith, in my life as an activist. Surrender is the story of one pilgrim’s lack of progress . . . With a fair amount of fun along the way.” 

Born in Dublin in 1960, Bono met his fellow musicians The Edge, Larry Mullen Jr., and Adam Clayton at school, and in 1978 they formed U2. The band released their first album, “Boy,” on Island Records in 1980 and to date have released a total of fourteen studio albums that have sold 157 million copies worldwide. Heralded by the music magazine Rolling Stone as “a live act simply without peer,” the band’s record-breaking “360°” Tour (2009–2011) remains the highest-grossing concert band tour of all time. Alongside his role as U2’s lead singer, Bono is a groundbreaking activist. A leader in Jubilee 2000’s “Drop the Debt” campaign, he next took on the fight against HIV/AIDS and extreme poverty, co-founding sister organizations ONE and (RED), which are dedicated to the fight against extreme poverty and preventable disease.. Bono has received a number of awards for his music and activism, including the Freedom of the City of Dublin (with U2), Chile’s Pablo Neruda Medal of Honor, the Légion d’honneur from the French government, an honorary British knighthood, the Fulbright Prize for International Understanding, and “Time” magazine’s Person of the Year (along with Bill and Melinda Gates).