The first memoir by Bono will be released this year, publisher Penguin Random House has announced.
While the U2 frontman’s career has been written about extensively, this will mark the first time Bono has written about it himself. Titled Surrender, the autobiography will span the singer’s early days growing up in Dublin, including the sudden loss of his mother when he was 14, the success of U2 and his activist work fighting against Aids and poverty.
Surrender will contain 40 chapters, each named after a U2 song. Bono has also created 40 original drawings for the book.
A video, in which Bono narrates an extract from the memoir, has been released across U2’s digital platforms. It uses animations based on Bono’s drawings to illustrate an extract from the Out of Control chapter, which is about how he wrote U2’s first single on his 18th birthday, exactly 44 years ago today.
Bono said his intention was that the book would “draw in detail what [he’d] previously only sketched in songs. The people, places and possibilities in my life.” He said he chose the title because, having grown up in Ireland in the 1970s, the act of surrendering was not a natural concept to him. Bono, whose lyrics have frequently been inspired by his Christian beliefs, said that “surrender” was “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,” he added, describing the book as “the story of one pilgrim’s lack of progress … With a fair amount of fun along the way.”
Bono’s book editor Reagan Arthur said that he and his colleagues were “lucky” that the Irish rock star “not only has a dramatic personal history to tell”, but is also “a truly gifted writer”.
“Surrender is honest, intimate, irreverent and profound – a dazzling memoir of a remarkable life,” he said.
Venetia Butterfield, who is overseeing Surrender’s UK publication, added that the title is “an extraordinary book by an extraordinary man”, promising that it will “delight readers around the world”.
Bono, born Paul David Hewson, met The Edge, Larry Mullen Jr and Adam Clayton at school, and they formed U2 in 1976, releasing their first album, Boy, in 1980. Since then, they have released a further 13 studio albums, and their 360° Tour, which ran from 2009 to 2011, remains the second highest-grossing concert band tour of all time. To date, U2 have sold more than 157m albums and won 22 Grammys, more than any other duo or group.
Bono is also well-known for his activism. (RED), a campaign he co-founded, has generated more than $700m for the Global Fund to treat and prevent Aids in Africa. In 2016, Bono co-founded the Rise Fund, which invests in companies that are driving positive social and environmental change.
Bono has received a number of awards for his music and activism, including Chile’s Pablo Neruda Medal of Honour, 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.