My new paperback ‘The Last Goodbye’ is out February 2016

 

The Last Goodbye: A History of the world In Resignations is available at all good bookstores from 6th February 2016.

 

A new, updated and expanded ‘reboot’ of F**k You & Goodbye for the mass market, The Last Goodbye brings the tale of human history’s most misunderstood driver bang up to date with revealing insights into some of the highlights of the past two years – from Pope Benedict XVI’s mysterious self-sacking to the will-he-won’t-he resignation antics of FIFA’s former president, Sepp Blatter.

 

The Last Goodbye F**k You & Goodbye Author Matt Potter

The Last Goodbye is published by Little, Brown in the UK and Commonwealth, and Silvertail Books in the USA, Europe and rest of the world. Here’s what they said about the hardback edition last year…

 

“Rage, wit or breathtaking chutzpah that will leave you silently applauding or, maybe, looking to the door yourself” (Metro)

“A hilarious history of the resignation letter… Potter examines our fascination with parting shots” (Daily Telegraph)

“There is a poetry to the best resignations that comes from having nothing to lose” (Independent)

“Will make you want to quit your job immediately” (Buzzfeed)

“Just magnificent – an alternate history of our time” (Monocle)

“A fascinating and profound look at how quitters shape history” (The Current)

“A cracking read” (The Daily Politics)

“The sort of book that makes you think, long after you’ve put it down” (Rev. Richard Coles BBC Saturday Live)

“Celebrates the art of the elegant – or explosive – resignation” (The Week)

 

For any media or rights enquiries, please contact me via my agent, Humfrey Hunter at Hunter Profiles.

 

‘F**k You & Goodbye’ is a Waterstone’s Christmas bestseller

 

Just got this stunning news from the people at Waterstone’s who compile the bestseller lists. F**k You & Goodbye is at No.22 the week before Christmas:

 

Christmas Bestseller list for Waterstone's features Matt Potter's Fuck You And Goodbye

Matt Potter’s F**k You & Goodbye at No.22 on the pre-Christmas bestseller list at Waterstone’s

 

Thanks to everyone who’s been so kind about my history of the resignation, and of course everyone who’s bought it. This is the second-best* Christmas present I’ve ever had. You can buy the book from Waterstone’s as a hardback here or ebook at a special price of £4.99 here.

 

*No. 1 is still the Airfix triceratops.

New book for pre-order: ‘F*** You & Goodbye: The Dark, Moving & Often Hilarious History of the Resignation’

 

 

I’ve been waiting for this day. My new book of non-fiction is finally available on Amazon for pre-order as a print hardback. I’ve just signed off on the cover, and here it is. (Click to enlarge).

 

 

Titled F*** You & Goodbye: The Dark, Moving & Often Hilarious History of the Resignation, it’s out early next year, published in the UK by Constable & Robinson. Using resignations to trace the key stories, social developments and philosophies of the age, it takes in the Reformation, the American Civil War, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the rise of celebrity culture, and more. Here’s the publisher’s elevator pitch.

“History is written by the winners. It’s the survivors – the faithful servants, the insiders, the ones who stick around, who can adapt to almost any condition – who get to write the official histories. They publish the memoirs, park in the directors’ spots, erect the statues, form the new governments, wipe out the pockets of resistance, recruit the new starters, set the agendas, talk on the documentaries and retrospectives.

               Yet theirs – the official version – is never the whole story. There’s another side that we only glimpse through the cracks.

               The quitter’s tale offers a far more compelling, and often a more honest version of history. It’s full of self-deception, bloody knives, betrayal, honour, disgrace, disgust, thwarted ambition and shattered hopes, and sometimes a wicked sting in the tail…

              ‘F*** You & Goodbye’ includes famous – and not-so-famous – parting shots from famous resigners such as Richard Nixon, Steve Jobs, Roy Keane, Che Guevara, Wyatt Earp, Geoffrey Howe, Boris Yeltsin, Mikhail Gorbachev, Richard Peppiatt, Tony Blair, General Robert E. Lee, William Faulkner, Mikhail Bulgakov, George Orwell, Roy Edward Disney (Walt’s heir), King Edward VIII, Groucho Marx, John Profumo, Ruud Gullit, the Enron board, Dave Lee Travis, PResident Eisenhower, Winston Churchill, Andrew Mitchell, Giles Coren and Charlie Sheen, and countless others.

            It examines the exit wounds they left, and how they changed the world we think we live in, the jobs we do, even who we are – leading the reader on a journey into modern society’s real heart of darkness.”

 

The book is the fruit of a 25-year obsession, and continues the theme of secret history – and the idea that the real story of our time is the one you glimpse between the cracks – from Outlaws Inc. It’s been fun writing it. I hope you enjoy reading it.

 

Order it early, and let me know by email, and send you a personal invite to the swish publisher’s launch party in London early next year.

 

 

The real reason I write: In praise of ‘threshold apprehension’

 

The cover for my next book arrived today. Any writer will tell you: the arrival of their new book’s cover is an exciting moment. Me, I’ve always found it a little bit poignant too.

 

Up to this point, it’s all about the making. There are routes to take; ways to turn things. The whole project exists in that glorious state of suspension where all things are possible. It’s crazy, but I always thought I knew pretty well how the pilot in that Roy Lichtenstein painting feels the instant before he pushes the button that makes the Blaaaaaaam! happen. (It always struck me as quite a peaceful, meditative picture for that reason. I understand I may well be alone in this.)

 

It’s elsewhere too. There’s a great Black Francis album called Bluefinger, all about the life of Dutch artist, rock star and heroin aficionado Herman Brood. It contains a song called ‘Threshold Apprehension’ that nails the feeling, the taste in your mouth, of being just about to nail something; the split second before the “Yessss!”. Threshold apprehension. (In the context of the album, I suspect it’s also about the feeling of a hit of smack, and the 9th-floor window Brood eventually jumped to his death from, but let’s stick with the eureka thing for a moment.)

 

It’s an obscure feeling, and you don’t hear it talked about much, but that’s only because (by definition) there’s nothing tangible you can show people. The Blaaaaaam! is what they see; only the pilot knows the heavenly chill that had him upside the temples the second before.

 

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not some Eeyore, saying that having done good work (insofar as I have done any) isn’t satisfying and wonderful and all. But being about to nail something great is The Drug.

 

It’s also the secret feeling. You’re alone with it. It’s the one result of the creative process you don’t get to talk about at awards ceremonies or on CVs, or see in the press, or exchange views on with your kids, or your mates. You’d sound like a freak. But you know it’s the fix that really keeps you in the game.

 

So that’s the feeling, from spark through pitch to publishers, tracking your story, bringing it to life, right the way through edits, then cover discussion and brief and feedback to the publishing house. And then…

 

Well, then there’s this… thing. A good thing. You love it. You brought it up, dammit. And it looks confident and it’s hanging out in shops and with the rough boys and girls on Amazon and in the press, and all you can do is wish it good luck out in the world, prepare yourself to explain it a few hundred times, and hope you gave it the toughness to handle itself out there. But it’s not yours any more, not really. Which is just fine, actually. And I mean, by this time you’re over the cover. You’ve seen it too much. You want to think about something else.

 

So you turn your attention to other things. Call people you haven’t seen for a while (you’ve been writing your book too many evenings lately). Get back to those things you love to read. Surf the net.

 

And that’s when the idea hits you. The idea… maybe even The Idea. Now this, this is exciting. You can almost taste it…

 

WEEKEND FREEBIE: Stream a sample of the new Outlaws Inc. audiobook

 

Thanks to the lovely people at Audible.com in the States, you can stream an extract of the new Outlaws Inc. audiobook here, for a limited period.

 

The book is read – which, I suppose means I’m played – by Jeff Kafer, a Seattle-born voice actor and veteran narrator and voiceover artist. And he does a really great job with my mad sentences. I almost forgot it wasn’t me speaking with that West Coast drawl. I hope you enjoy it.

 

Stream by clicking the green ‘Play’ button here.

 

News: Film deal for Outlaws Inc.

 

Well, it’s happened. An 18-month film option on Outlaws Inc has been bought by a major Hollywood production company, Thunder Road Pictures. Thunder Road are the outfit behind big noises like The Expendables, Clash of the Titans (above) and Ben Affleck’s The Town, as well as the new Jeff Bridges/Julianne Moore blockbuster Seventh Son. Boss Basil Iwanyk is apparently Hollywood’s most bankable producer. So, er, blimey.

 

As things progress, I’ll be working on the project as Consultant Scriptwriter. So it’s all pretty exciting. And it’s thanks in large part to my agent, Humfrey Hunter, and film/TV rights agent, Rebecca Watson at Valerie Hoskins Associates. (See, I’m doing the Oscar Speech Thing already.) Rebecca is the lady who represents Fifty Shades Of Grey, so the studios seemed to take her calls for some reason.

 

Now, where will we get all the Russian planes for the movie, cheap? Oh hang on, I know just the people

 

News: Reader’s Digest publishes ‘Outlaws Inc’ in 26 languages as its Autumn adventure read

International literary selection Reader’s Digest has published a condensed version of Outlaws Inc. in its Autumn edition… and brought its international detective story home.

 

The condensed extract is published in Norwegian, Swedish, Slovenian (a taster for the translation is here), Russian, French, Dutch, Hungarian, Finnish, Czech, Slovak, Polish, German, Italian, Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese, and a host of other languages. In the New Year, it will see publication in Thai, Mandarin, Cantonese and other Far Eastern languages, as well as for parts of Africa.

 

The extracts come with some incredible, atmospheric new illustrations inspired by the action, supplied by Bryan Christie Design of New York – that’s one of Bryan’s illustrations at the head of this post, and more of his work is here.

 

It’s a big moment for me. While Outlaws Inc. has been translated into several languages as a full book, having it read by people in some of the countries central to its investigative trail through the secret world of international arms smuggling – from the Far East to Russia itself – is an honour. I guess I hope some of its findings hit home in the heartland of the operations I followed, as they have elsewhere. It’s undeniably thrilling, even a little strange, seeing the story printed in Cyrillic. I sort of feel like I need to wish it luck in there.

 

But it’s more personal than that too. My grandma was a lifetime subscriber to Reader’s Digest‘s condensed selection of books, and it loomed large throughout my childhood. She was its biggest fan. I remember cutting my reading teeth on some of the non-fiction adventure stories in the copies she always had at her house. Jaws was one extract I read, back when it was new. There was another called The Sea Shall Not Have Them, too. I don’t remember much about it, but I remember the story had the same kind of outer darkness that hung over Mickey and the pilots I tracked. that In a way, I think that more than my writing the book – and perhaps more than any good it has (or hasn’t) done in the battle against global weapons smuggling – I think this would have been the seal of approval that made her proud.

 

So thanks, Reader’s Digest. And thanks, Grandma.

 

 

News: A bit of Fry and Ronson… ‘Outlaws Inc.’ back up the WH Smith Bestseller chart

Short post this time, just to say thank you to everyone who helped to send Outlaws Inc. haring back up the bestseller chart. This was sent to me by motoring journo Will Dron, and I had to make sure he wasn’t messing with my head.

 

Nestled between Stephen Fry and Jon Ronson is somewhere I never even thought I’d end up (not to mention underneath Caitlin Moran). It feels great, if a bit like that dream you have where you’re at a party full of witty, hyper-intelligent people and you try and be as witty as them, but it all comes out garbled, then suddenly your trousers keep coming off, and the whole school is totally staring. No? Maybe that was just me then.

 

In any case, I stay true to my promise: Thank you for buying Outlaws Inc., and I hope you enjoy it. If I meet you, just identify yourself, and the drinks are on me.

 

News: New book, ‘Parting Shots’ out June 2013

 

I can finally share some details on the next book. ‘Parting Shots’ is going to be the secret history of our times and society, as revealed through resignations.

 

And I’d like your recommendations! Mostly, we’re talking Rebekah Brookses and Thatcher cabinet ministers, but I’d love to quote some unknown examples, too – and spectacular/fun/vicious/poor/epic/drunk/great/unwise resignation letters or speeches. So if you’ve ever sent, received, said or heard any particularly good ones, would love to hear about it. I’ll credit you in the book, and pay in booze/Amazon vouchers for any I quote… I thank you!

 

Watch this space for an update in the next couple of weeks…

News: Catch Matt performing in the Literary Death Match at London’s Stoke Newington Literary Festival, June 2nd!

I’ll be facing off against some of Britain’s best writers and comedians in the 26th Literary Death Match at London’s hipsterest literary festival this June.

 

If you’ve not yet had the pleasure of sampling Outlaws Inc., or enjoyed it but suspect what it might be missing is a live, onstage setting in which its woefully under-prepared author reads bits of it out on stage for a panel of comedy judges, vying with four other authors for a place in the final of some tipsy, nerd-friendly version of a gladiatorial contest, then Stoke Newington Literary Festival on June 2nd 2012 is the place to be.

 

The 26th Literary Death Match sees me lining up against ace novelist Anna Raverat, top comedian Andy Zaltzman, and acclaimed author of 50 Ways To Find A Lover Lucy Ann Holmes. (My performance will be the only non-fiction reading on the bill, so not sure how that’ll go down.) The performances will be analysed, lampooned and otherwise picked apart for the entertainment of the baying mob, by a panel of all-star judges. After each pair of readings, in which authors face off, the judges  select their favorite to advance to the finals based on “literary merit, performance and intangibles” and give their own often hilarious commentary on each story.

 

Literary Death Match is everywhere at the moment. Billed as a “competitive, humour-centric reading series… part way between Def Poetry Jam and American Idol without the nastiness”, it brings together writers from different disciplines with comedians and critics, in a night of live literary performance.

 

Literary Death Matches are now a regular fixture from LA to Berlin. It sounds like a circus, admit the organizers, but “That’s half the point. Literary Death Match is passionate about inspecting new and innovative ways to present text off the page, and the most fascinating part is how seriously attentive the audience is during each reading.”

 

My performance/potential mistimed Pinot Grigio car crash begins at 8pm in the Library Gallery on Stoke Newington Church Street. Tickets are just a fiver each – you can book them from Ticketweb here – and you can bet there’ll be lots of booze and good vibes.

 

If you’re there, do come and say hello. I’ll be the chap who looks like a smaller, slightly drunker – perhaps older somehow – version of my avatar, and reading from a book with my name on it, but which I appear never to have seen before in my life.If you want to contact me, I’m on Twitter as @MattPotter (see what I did there), and you can email me at matt [at] mattpotterbooks [dot] com. I sign books for warm wine, and for crisps I’ll draw pictures too

 

You can follow Literary Death Match on Twitter at @LitDeathMatch, and Stoke Newington Literary Festival at @StokeyLitFest too. The full programme of Stoke Newington Literary Festival is here. And it’s a corker.