Bono to publish memoir, Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story, in November

Singer writes for first time about his own life in 40 chapters, each named after a U2 song

Bono, the lead singer of U2, has written a memoir, Surrender, which will be published by Penguin Random House on November 1st, with the audiobook narrated by Bono himself. The book will be released simultaneously around the world, including by Hutchinson Heinemann in Ireland and the UK and Knopf in the US.

As one of the music world’s most famous artists, Bono’s career has been written about extensively. But in Surrender, Bono writes for the first time about his own remarkable life and those he has shared it with. He takes us from his early days growing up in Dublin, including the sudden loss of his mother when he was 14, to U2’s unlikely journey to become one of the world’s most influential rock bands, to his more than 20 years of activism dedicated to the fight against Aids and extreme poverty.

Surrender’s subtitle, 40 Songs, One Story, is a nod to the book’s 40 chapters, which are each named after a U2 song. Bono has also created 40 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 the Out of Control chapter, in which Bono tells the story of writing U2’s first single on May 10th, 1978 – his 18th birthday, exactly 44 years ago today.

“All of the passion that Bono brings to his music and his life he also brings to the page,” said Reagan Arthur, Bono’s editor at Penguin Random House US. “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.”


Bono said: “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.”

Venetia Butterfield, managing director of the Penguin Random House UK division publishing the book, added: “Surrender is an extraordinary book by an extraordinary man about an extraordinary life. Brilliantly written - warm, wise, funny, self-deprecating, utterly engaging, brave and fearless, Bono reveals himself as a natural storyteller and a powerful and gifted writer. I know this book will delight readers around the world and has all the hallmarks of a future classic.”