Knopf to Publish SURRENDER, a Memoir by Bono, in November
Bono—artist, activist, and the lead singer of Irish rock band U2—has written a memoir, SURRENDER, that will be published by Alfred A. Knopf on November 1, 2022. The announcement was made today by Knopf EVP and Publisher Reagan Arthur. Represented by Jonny Geller at Curtis Brown, Ltd., SURRENDER will be published in hardcover and ebook, and in audio by Penguin Random House, narrated by Bono. The book will be released simultaneously around the world: in addition to the United States, SURRENDER will be published in fifteen territories, including Penguin Random House UK, Ireland, and Canada.
As one of the music world’s most iconic artists, Bono’s career has been written about extensively. But in SURRENDER, it’s Bono who picks up the pen, writing for the first time about his remarkable life and those he has shared it with. In his unique voice, Bono takes us from his early days growing up in Dublin, including the sudden loss of his mother when he was fourteen, to U2’s unlikely journey to become one of the world’s most influential rock bands, to his more than twenty years of activism dedicated to the fight against AIDS and extreme poverty. Writing with candor, self-reflection, and humor, Bono opens the aperture on his life—and the family, friends, and faith that have sustained, challenged, and shaped him.
SURRENDER’s subtitle, “40 Songs, One Story,” is a nod to the book’s forty chapters, each named after a U2 song. Bono has also created forty original drawings for SURRENDER, and an animated video, narrated by Bono and based on some of his drawings, was released today across U2’s digital platforms. The video illustrates an extract from SURRENDER’s “Out of Control” chapter, in which Bono tells the story of writing U2’s first single on May 10, 1978 – his eighteenth birthday, exactly forty-four years ago today.
“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.”
The lead singer of U2, Bono was born Paul David Hewson in Dublin. He met The Edge, Larry Mullen Jr., and Adam Clayton at school, and in 1978 U2 was formed. 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 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. U2 have won numerous awards, including twenty-two Grammys, more than any other duo or group, as well as an Academy Award nomination and the Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience Award. In 2005, U2 was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Alongside his role in U2, 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, cofounding sister organizations ONE and (RED). ONE is a movement of millions of people dedicated to the fight against extreme poverty and preventable disease. With ONE, Bono has lobbied heads of state and legislatures all around the world, helping to ensure the passage of programs, such as the U.S. PEPFAR AIDS program, that have helped to save tens of millions of lives over the past twenty years. (RED)—which partners with companies to raise public awareness about, and corporate contributions for, the AIDS crisis—has to date generated more than $700 million for the Global Fund to treat and prevent AIDS in Africa. Since 2020, ONE and (RED) have also been fighting COVID-19 and its impact on the developing world. In 2016, Bono cofounded the Rise Fund, a global impact fund investing in entrepreneurial companies driving positive social and environmental change in alignment with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
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). He lives in Dublin with his wife, Ali Hewson.