Written by: Andrea Marks-Joseph
“From my heart...both excited and terrified to share.” Viola Davis wrote to her combined 9.7 million followers on Twitter and Instagram, announcing the news of her upcoming memoir, ‘Finding Me’. The memoir, set to release in April 2022, will be published by HarperOne in partnership with Ebony Magazine Publishing. HarperOne is an imprint of HarperCollins with a focus on “Books that transform and inspire.”
Viola Davis is a producer, philanthropist, and multi-award-winning actress in film, television and theater. Best known for her role as Annalise Keating in How to Get Away with Murder, Davis has achieved critical acclaim and worldwide celebrity for her roles in the 2008 film Doubt, 2011 film adaptation The Help (based on the Kathryn Stockett novel), and most recently in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
(Photo of Viola Davis and The Late Chadwick Boseman on the set of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom)
Davis’ fans’ response to the news of this memoir has been overwhelmingly supportive, particularly of the idea that Viola narrates it herself, which would put her in contention for the Grammy Awards. The Grammy Award category for Best Spoken Word Album now also includes audio books, poetry readings and storytelling. Previous winners of the Grammy in this category include Joan Rivers, Carrie Fisher, and Michelle Obama, who also narrated their memoirs. Viola Davis has won a Primetime Emmy Award, an Oscar, and two Tony Awards. She is the first African-American and youngest actor to achieve this "Triple Crown of Acting". These accolades also mean that she is one Grammy away from earning the coveted EGOT —the designation given to people who have won all four major American entertainment awards.
In an interview with NPR, she shared that before the fame and financial stability that came with her acting success and critical acclaim, "Reading was an escape into an imaginary world…where I could re-create myself and I could re-create a life where I played a better role. And it's that place, in reading, it was that place that sort of saved me — going to the library every day after school." In 2011, as part of her philanthropy work, Davis donated funds to her hometown public library to help prevent its closure.
This early love of reading on her own, and then reading with her young daughter, inspired the project of writing a sequel to the popular children’s book ‘Corduroy’ by Don Freeman. In 2018, ‘Corduroy Takes a Bow’ was released, written and narrated by Viola Davis. Davis has also narrated Cicely Tyson’s book ‘Just as I Am’, and ‘Blind Faith’ by Dennis Love and Stacy Brown.
(Get Your Copy of Just As I Am Today)
"I believe that our stories, and the courage to share them, is the most powerful empathetic tool we have. This is my story ... straight no chaser," Davis said in a statement about ‘Finding Me’. The upcoming book will tell stories spanning Davis’ life from her childhood in Rhode Island to her present-day career, telling “her story of overcoming obstacles to now become the most nominated Black actress in the history of the Academy Awards.” writes Essence Magazine.
“Viola Davis is a powerful truth teller — through her work on stage and screen, as well as in her life,” HarperOne president Judith Curr said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to working with her on a book that powerfully reveals the risk and danger for a Black woman living in the fullness of her talents and gifts — and the reward and freedom that comes with it.”
‘Finding Me’ is expected to release on 19 April 2022.
Andrea Marks-Joseph is a South African freelance writer and book reviewer. She can be found on Twitter @stargirlriots and at stargirlriots.com