Man at His Best

Barack writes book. (Yawn) So does Michelle!

Penguin Random House in New York will deliver the million-dollar babies.

BY Editors | Mar 1, 2017 | Books

Yeah, we got this one / AFP PHOTO / Nicholas Kamm

Barack and Michelle Obama have signed a deal to publish their memoirs with New York-based Penguin Random House, in a coveted contract reportedly worth tens of millions of dollars.

He’s already written two memoirs and a children's book. Quit when you’re ahead, Mr Ex-President!

Obama has frequently declared himself to have a "writer's sensibility" and has said he does not want to write a conventional blow-by-blow account of his time in the White House.

Michelle Obama's memoir is likely to be just as eagerly anticipated. Correction: a hotly anticipated, Harry Potter-smashing bestseller. Thank you in advance, Oprah!

A descendant of slaves, she became the first African American first lady and garnered high approval ratings -- to the point where she was arguably one of the country's most respected and popular women.

She’s also intervened in other parts of the world. Remember #BringBackOurGirls? Boko Haram had kidnapped schoolgirls in Nigeria in 2014 and Michelle launched a hashtag campaign.

Penguin Random House said in a statement it has "acquired world publication rights for two books, to be written by president and Mrs Obama respectively."

The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but bidding for the high-profile double book deal topped USD60 million, a record sum for US presidential memoirs, according to the Financial Times.

Until now, the record for a US presidential memoir was USD15 million paid for Bill Clinton's My Life, released in 2004. George W. Bush received USD10 million for Decision Points in 2010.

Hillary Clinton reportedly received a USD14 million advance for Hard Choices, her account of her time as secretary of state under Obama.


Photo by AFP Photo / Saul Loeb

The Obama deal was negotiated by Washington super-lawyer Robert Barnett, who represented both the Clintons and Bush.

As part of the agreement, the company will donate one million books in the Obama family's name to First Book, a charity, Penguin said.

"We are very much looking forward to working together with President and Mrs Obama to make each of their books global publishing events of unprecedented scope and significance," said Penguin Random House CEO Markus Dohle.

The Obamas stick around town, Ivanka and Jared are their new neighbours

The Obamas took a long vacation after Donald Trump was sworn in as president on January 20, and the former president has stuck by a pledge to keep a low public profile unless events threatening what he called America's "core values" warranted that he speak out.

He did just that in January, just days after Trump enacted his ban on travellers from seven mostly Muslim countries, and on all refugees. Obama expressed support for protests that sprang up nationwide against the now-suspended Trump travel ban.

US presidents tend to leave town after leaving the White House but the Obamas are settling into a rented mansion in Washington's posh Kalorama district until their younger daughter Sasha finishes high school. Their eldest daughter Malia will be attending Harvard in the fall.

Another new neighbor in Kalorama is Trump's daughter Ivanka, who has rented a house along with her husband Jared Kushner and their three children, near the Obamas.

Source: AFP/Thomas Urbain

 


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