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Virago to publish memoir from Dame Eileen Atkins

Will She Do?


Dame Eileen Atkins, aged 86, writes her memoir for Virago, to be published in October 2021.


Will She Do? is the story of a girl from a council estate in Tottenham, born in 1934 to an electric-meter reader and a seamstress,  who was determined to be an actress.  Candid and witty, this memoir takes her from her awkward performances in working-men’s clubs at 6 years of age as dancing `Baby Eileen’, through the war years in London, to her breakthrough at thirty-two on Broadway with The Killing of Sister George, for which she received the first of five Tony Award nominations. She co-created Upstairs, Downstairs and wrote the screenplay for Mrs Dalloway (for which she won an Evening Standard Award) and this is her first autobiographical work.


Characterised by an eye for the absurd, a terrific knack for storytelling and an insistence on honesty, Will She Do? is a wonderful raconteur’s tale about family, about class, about youthful ambition and big dreams and what really goes on behind the scenes.  Made a Dame in 1991, Eileen Atkins has been on American and British stage and screen since 1957 and has won an Emmy, a BAFTA and is a three-time Olivier Award winner; her theatre performances include The Height of the Storm, Ellen Terry, All that Fall and she has appeared in television and films ranging from Doc Martin to Cranford to The Crown.


Lennie Goodings, who bought World Rights from Sarah Williams at Independent Talent, says, ‘For nearly a decade, since I first heard some of her childhood stories, I have been pestering Eileen Atkins to write a memoir and now at last, she has and it’s everything I hoped it would be: funny, lively, and a fascinating story of how she has come to be one of our great actresses. I am just delighted.’


Eileen Atkins will read the audio book.