Abbott signs book deal to ‘tell my own story’ in memoir

Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington Pic: Diane Abbott’s communication office

Diane Abbott, the Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP, who was the UK’s first black female MP has signed a book deal to publish her autobiography next summer.

The memoir titled, ‘A Woman Like Me’, was announced on International Women’s Day by Penguin imprint Viking who obtained the rights in a six-way auction. 

In response to the announcement of the book to be published on the 35th anniversary of Abbott’s entry into Parliament as a Labour MP in 1987, she tweeted: ‘Pleased to get a chance to tell my own story’. 

Announcing the deal Abbott, said: “My parents were part of the Windrush generation. Nobody could have guessed that their bespectacled little girl would grow up to be a British Member of Parliament.”  

Born to working class Jamaican immigrants to London, she went to grammar school and Cambridge before working briefly in the Home Office, then as a television researcher and press officer in local government. She was a Westminster City Council councillor before being elected to Parliament in 1987, and is now the longest serving black MP in the House of Commons.

She ran for the Labour Party leadership in 2010, losing to Ed Miliband who appointed her Shadow Health Secretary. In 2016, she was made Shadow Home Secretary by long term ally Jeremy Corbyn, with whom she was once romantically linked.  

She has been attacked by the tabloid media on a number of occasions, including when she was caught illegally drinking a £2 can of gin on the Tube whilst also campaigning to end the sale of cheap alcohol.  

In 2017 it was revealed that half of all online hate sent to female politicians was directed at Abbott. In an interview with Amnesty, she said: ‘Some days, we can get hundreds of items of abuse, depending on what happened the previous day.’ 

Abbott is the founder of organisations including London Schools and the Black Child Initiative which aims to raise achievement levels in education for Black pupils. Abbott has also launched Black Women Mean Business, promoting and supporting Black businesswomen.  

Although some users on Twitter had mixed opinions on the book release, many praised and congratulated Abbott on her newest achievement. One said: “I was born in 1987. Thank you for the hard work you’ve put in to make my life as a black man in the United Kingdom better.” 

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