Allison Russell Is Officially Writing a Memoir

The Montreal singer-songwriter inked a deal with Flatiron Books

Photo: Francesca Cepero

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Jan 14, 2022

After the release of her autobiographical debut solo album Outside Child last year and scoring a coveted spot on Barack Obama's playlist, Montreal-born Allison Russell is getting ready to continue telling her story in a new medium: the singer-songwriter is writing a memoir.

Russell has signed a deal with Flatiron Books (an imprint of Macmillan) to flesh out a nonfiction narrative account of much of the vulnerable territory she covered on the Grammy-nominated album in greater detail, including her abusive upbringing, motherhood and finding acceptance — and her ancestral legacy as a Black woman — in music and community-building. 

"They just put out Unbound by Tarana Burke, who founded the #MeToo movement; they just put out Ashley C. Ford's Nobody's Daughter," the artist told Variety, expressing her excitement about working with the publisher. "These are such beautiful books and writers that have helped me feel in community in the world and empowered, and so to get to be in the same publishing house as them is really extraordinary."

It sounds like the excitement is quite mutual, since Flatiron editor Bryn Clark told the publication:

There have only been a couple of times in my career where I've known I wanted to work on a book from the very first sentence, and reading Allison's proposal was one of them. Her lyrical writing and deeply evocative story lit my heart on fire. The whole Flatiron team was equally moved by her talent and greater mission to help others and bring healing to this world.

"Well, you know, I've always been the word nerd," Russell added of her decision to turn from music to the written word. "That's it. I have very few things that I can do — I can use my words and I can use melodies, and that's about it. So I'm finding new ways to use my words."

Tour Dates

Latest Coverage