Among the season’s most anticipated biographies and memoirs are experimental works from familiar names, personal histories that reframe the American past, and debut memoirs from Christine Blasey Ford, Leslie Jamison, and RuPaul.

Top 10

All the Worst Humans: How I Made News for Dictators, Tycoons, and Politicians

Phil Elwood. Holt, June 25 ($28.99, ISBN 978-1-250-32157-2)

Elwood, a former PR professional in Washington, D.C., pulls back the curtain on his work for the Qatari government, Muammar Gaddafi, and other clients.

Alphabetical Diaries

Sheila Heti. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Feb. 6 ($27, ISBN 978-0-374-61078-4)

Heti follows up Pure Colour with a formal experiment in which she rearranges sentences from 10 years’ worth of personal journal entries in alphabetical order.

Burn Book: A Tech Love Story

Kara Swisher. Simon & Schuster, Feb. 27 ($30, ISBN 978-1-982163-89-1)

Swisher recounts her career reporting on the tech industry, from covering the rise of Silicon Valley in the early 1990s to sit-downs with Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, and other titans who’ve shaped the 21st century, for better and worse.

The House of Hidden Meanings: A Memoir

RuPaul. Dey Street, Mar. 5 ($29.99, ISBN 978-0-06-326390-1)

The trailblazing drag performer and television host chronicles his turbulent San Diego, Calif., childhood, early days in the Atlanta and New York City punk scenes, and unlikely ascent to stardom.

Night Flyer: Harriet Tubman and the Faith Dreams of a Free People

Tiya Miles. Penguin Press, June 18 ($28, ISBN 978-0-593-49116-4)

National Book Award winner Miles seeks to render the larger-than-life abolitionist on a human scale by focusing on Tubman’s relationships with the natural world and other enslaved women.

Not Your China Doll: The Wild and Shimmering Life of Anna May Wong

Katie Gee Salisbury. Dutton, Mar. 12 ($32, ISBN 978-0-593-18398-4)

Salisbury debuts with a biography of actor Wong, who in the 1920s became the first Asian American star of a major motion picture.

One Way Back: A Memoir

Christine Blasey Ford. St. Martin’s, Mar. 19 ($29, ISBN 978-1-250-28965-0)

Blasey Ford documents her life before, during, and after she accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault at his 2018 Supreme Court confirmation hearings.

What Have We Here? Portraits of a Life

Billy Dee Williams. Knopf, Feb. 13 ($32, ISBN 978-0-593-31860-7)

The Star Wars star chronicles his Harlem childhood, early theater career, and onscreen achievements.

Splinters: Another Kind of Love Story

Leslie Jamison. Little, Brown, Feb. 20 ($29, ISBN 978-0-316-37488-0)

For her debut memoir, the author of The Empathy Exams takes a microscope to her fraying marriage, comparing it to her parents’ own bond and examining her feelings about motherhood in the process.

Whiskey Tender: A Memoir

Deborah Taffa. Harper, Feb. 27 ($32, ISBN 978-0-06-328851-5)

Taffa interweaves an account of growing up on a Navajo reservation in New Mexico in the 1970s and ’80s with reflections on major events in the history of Native relations with America’s European settlers and their descendants.

Memoirs & Biographies longlist

Abrams Press

Cactus Country: A Boyhood Memoir by Zoë Bossiere (Apr. 17, $27, ISBN 978-1-4197-7318-1) recounts how the author began living as a boy after moving with their family to an Arizona trailer park as an 11-year-old, before arriving at a more complicated gender identity as they grew older.


Joyce Carol Oates: Letters to a Biographer by Joyce Carol Oates, edited by Greg Johnson (Mar. 5, $28.95, ISBN 978-1-63614-116-9), collects Oates’s correspondence with writer Johnson, covering the details of her writing practice, private travels, and musings on art and culture.


Slow Noodles: A Cambodian Memoir of Love, Loss, and Family Recipes by Chantha Nguon (Feb. 20, $29, ISBN 978-1-64375-349-2) weaves more than 20 recipes into Nguon’s account of her family’s experiences during the Cambodian genocide of the 1970s.


The Moment: Thoughts on the Race Reckoning That Wasn’t and How We All Can Move Forward Now by Bakari Sellers (Apr. 23, $29.99, ISBN 978-0-06-308502-2). The CNN commentator and former South Carolina state representative recounts his reaction to the 2020 police killing of George Floyd and reflects on subjects from voting rights to policing.


The Editor: How Publishing Legend Judith Jones Shaped Culture in America by Sara B. Franklin (May 28, $30, ISBN 978-1- 982134-34-1). In the first biography of Jones, Franklin examines the Knopf editor’s work on such classics as Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl and The Art of French Cooking, pulling from interviews with her colleagues and previously unseen personal papers.


Dancing on the Edge: A Journey of Living, Loving, and Tumbling Through Hollywood by Russ Tamblyn and Sarah Tomlinson (Apr. 9, $28.99, ISBN 979-8-212-27331-2). Tamblyn discusses his life as a teen actor in the 1950s and ’60s, sharing anecdotes about his friendship with Neil Young, his 1958 Academy Award nomination, and the breakdown of his marriage.


I Will Show You How It Was: The Story of Wartime Kyiv by Illia Ponomarenko (May 7, $28.99, ISBN 978-1-63973-387-3) sees the Ukrainian war correspondent providing a firsthand account of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.


Accordion Eulogies: A Memoir of Music, Migration, and Mexico by Noé Álvarez (May 28, $26, ISBN 978-1-64622-089-2). In his second memoir, Álvarez writes of traversing the U.S. with his accordion in an attempt to better understand his late Mexican grandfather, who was also an accordion player.


Thunder Song: Essays by Sasha taqwsˇəblu LaPointe (Mar. 5, $27, ISBN 978-1-64009-635-6) delves into the author’s Indigenous heritage, interweaving autobiography with anthropological research and reflections on art and music.


Outofshapeworthlessloser: A Memoir of Figure Skating, F*cking Up, and Figuring It Out by Gracie Gold (Feb. 6, $28.99, ISBN 978-0-593-44404-7). 2014 Olympic bronze medalist Gold reveals the private struggles with bulimia and suicidal ideation that accompanied her ascent in the public eye.

Dey Street

Traveling: On the Path of Joni Mitchell by Ann Powers (May 14, $35, ISBN 978-0-06-246372-2). NPR music critic Powers delivers a wide-ranging volume on the singer-songwriter that combines the author’s reflections and interviews with Mitchell’s contemporaries.


The Yankee Way: The Untold Inside Story of the Brian Cashman Era by Andy Martino (May 21, $30, ISBN 978-0-385-54999-8) draws from two years’ worth of interviews with Yankees general manager Cashman to deliver an inside look at the team’s 1998 and 2000 World Series victories, ego clashes, and more.


Rebel Girl: My Life as a Feminist Punk by Kathleen Hanna (May 14, $29.99, ISBN 978-0-06-282523-0). The Bikini Kill frontwoman reflects on her adolescence in Washington State, the formation of the band, and her friendships with famous musicians including Kurt Cobain and Joan Jett.


A Darker Shade of Blue: A Police Officer’s Memoir by Keith Merith (Mar. 26, $21.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-77041-679-6) chronicles the author’s years as a Black man working for Canada’s York Regional Police and shares strategies for police reform.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Candy Darling: Dreamer, Icon, Superstar by Cynthia Carr (Mar. 19, $30, ISBN 978-1-250-06635-0). In the first full biography of Warhol superstar Darling, Carr documents the artist’s Long Island childhood, celebrity connections, and untimely death in 1974.

Free Press

Never Say You’ve Had a Lucky Life: Especially If You’ve Had a Lucky Life by Joseph Epstein (Apr. 16, $27.99, ISBN 978-1-66800-963-5). The former American Scholar editor discusses his early life in Chicago, U.S. Army service, and exploits in New York City’s literary scene.

Get Lifted

Wild Life: Finding My Purpose in an Untamed World by Rae Wynn-Grant (Apr. 2, $28, ISBN 978-1-63893-040-2) traces Grant’s trajectory from her childhood in the San Francisco Bay Area to becoming a prominent ecologist, cataloging the trials and triumphs of being a Black woman scientist.

Grand Central

Make It Count: My Fight to Become the First Transgender Olympic Runner by CeCé Telfer (June 18, $30, ISBN 978-1-5387-5624-9). Jamaica-born athlete Telfer discusses her coming-of-age, her coming out, and her path to becoming the first openly trans woman to win an NCAA championship.


Brother. Do. You. Love. Me. by Manni Coe, illus. by Reuben Coe (May 7, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-77840-144-2), focuses on Manni’s removal of his brother, Reuben, who has Down syndrome, from a dreary English care home so the two could live together in a farm cottage.


My Mama, Cass: A Memoir by Owen Elliot-Kugell (May 7, $30, ISBN 978-0-306-83064-8) details the artistic and personal achievements of the author’s mother, musician Cass Elliot of the Mamas and the Papas.


Radiant: The Life and Line of Keith Haring by Brad Gooch (Mar. 5, $37.50, ISBN 978-0-06-269826-1). Biographer Gooch draws on new research from the late artist’s archives to delve into Haring’s life, work, and 1980s New York City milieu.


Amphibious Soul: Finding the Wild in a Tame World by Craig Foster (Apr. 17, $29.99, ISBN 978-0-06-328902-4). The star and subject of the documentary My Octopus Teacher discusses his return to the Cape of Good Hope, where he was born, to conduct oceanic research.


Dear Mom and Dad: A Letter About Family, Memory, and the America We Once Knew by Patti Davis (Feb. 6, $21.99, ISBN 978-1-324-09348-0) mixes anecdotes from Davis’s personal life with reflections on the thorny legacies of her parents, Ronald and Nancy Reagan.


On a Move: Philadelphia’s Notorious Bombing and a Native Son’s Lifelong Battle for Justice by Mike Africa Jr. (July 9, $32.50, ISBN 978-0-06-331887-8). Africa, whose parents were members of the Black liberation group MOVE, writes of being born in jail and being raised by his grandmother, and recounts the 1985 bombing of his parents’ commune by Philadelphia police.


Grief Is for People by Sloane Crosley (Feb. 27, $27, ISBN 978-0-374-60984-9). The essayist portrays her grief and confusion after her best friend died by suicide.

Melville House

Death Row Welcomes You: Visiting Hours in the Shadow of the Execution Chamber by Steven Hale (Mar. 19, $28.99, ISBN 978-1-61219-928-3). Journalist Hale collects his reporting on Tennessee’s death row inmates after the state resumed executions in 2018, including his experiences befriending some of the prisoners.


Chop Fry Watch Learn: Fu Pei-mei and the Making of Modern Chinese Food by Michelle T. King (May 14, $29.99, ISBN 978-1-324-02128-5) braids together a biography of Taiwanese chef Fu, who helped popularize Chinese cooking with her television appearances in the mid-20th century, and stories from King’s own childhood in a food-centric Chinese American household.

One Signal

The Age of Magical Overthinking: Notes on Modern Irrationality by Amanda Montell (Apr. 9, $27.99, ISBN 978-1-66800-797-6) follows up Montell’s Cultish with a blend of memoir and cultural criticism that takes aim at the information age’s assistance of distorted thinking.


Beckett’s Children: A Literary Memoir by Michael Coffey (July 30, $17.95, ISBN 978-1-68219-608-3). The former co-editorial director of PW draws on his experiences as an adoptee and a father to examine the works of Samuel Beckett and poet Susan Howe, in light of unsubstantiated rumors that Beckett was her father.


Nothing Ever Just Disappears: Seven Hidden Queer Histories by Diarmuid Hester (Feb. 6, $29.95, ISBN 978-1-63936-555-5) delves into lesser-known periods in the lives of notable queer artists, including James Baldwin, Josephine Baker, E.M. Forster, and Derek Jarman.

Penn State Univ.

With Darkness Came Stars by Audrey Flack (Feb. 27, $37.50, ISBN 978-0-271-09674-2) contains the groundbreaking photorealistic painter’s musings on her contemporaries, art practice, legacy, and motherhood.


In True Face: A Woman’s Life in the CIA, Unmasked by Jonna Mendez (Mar. 5, $30, ISBN 978-1-5417-0312-4) follows the author’s career arc from secretary to spy, recounting some of her most treacherous tours of duty and culminating in her promotion to the CIA’s chief of disguise.

Random House

How to Make Herself Agreeable to Everyone by Cameron Russell (Mar. 19, $29, ISBN 978-0-593-59548-0). The supermodel recounts her entry into the modeling industry at 16, subsequent disillusionment, and eventual resolution to organize for labor rights with her fellow models.


Feh by Shalom Auslander (July 23, $29, ISBN 978-0-7352-1326-5). The novelist delivers his first work of nonfiction since 2007’s Foreskin’s Lament, a memoir about his struggle to shake off generational guilt.


Double Click: Twin Photographers in the Golden Age of Magazines by Carol Kino (Mar. 5, $29, ISBN 978-1-9821-1304-9). This dual biography covers the lives and careers of Frances and Kathryn McLaughlin, twin New York City magazine photographers in the 1930s and ’40s who acquired success before women were nudged back toward domestic duties in the ’50s.

Seven Stories

Breaking the Curse: A Memoir About Trauma, Healing, and Italian Witchcraft by Alex Difrancesco (June 4, $18.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-64421-384-1) swirls together self-help and memoir as the author reflects on the ways alternate spirituality helped bring them peace after addiction and transphobic attacks.

St. Martin’s

Rise of a Killah by Ghostface Killah (May 14, $35, ISBN 978-1-250-27427-4) takes an illustrated look at the life of the rapper and Wu-Tang Clan cofounder.

Tin House

The Story Game by Shze-Hui Tjoa (May 21, $17.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-959030-75-1). Singaporean writer Tjoa excavates memories lost to PTSD in this memoir of her childhood that’s structured as a mystery.

Union Square

Inconceivable: Super Sperm Donors, Off-the-Grid Insemination, and Unconventional Family Planning by Valerie Bauman (Apr. 16, $27.99, ISBN 978-1-4549-5143-8) describes the author’s plunge into an underground community of off-book sperm donors as she sought to become a single mother.


Ghosted: An American Story by Nancy French (Apr. 16, $29.99, ISBN 978-0-310-36744-4). French delivers a memoir about her difficult childhood in Appalachia, which she escaped by marrying a stranger and moving to New York City, where she started ghostwriting memoirs for conservative politicians