Lara Love Hardin’s memoir ‘The Many Lives of Mama Love’ is Oprah Winfrey’s new book club pick


NEW YORK (AP) — Oprah Winfrey’s latest book club selection is an author and ghost writer’s life story, chronicling her journey from prison and drug addiction to collaborating with the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and others.

Lara Love Hardin’s “The Many Lives of Mama Love: A Memoir of Lying, Stealing, Writing, and Healing” was published last summer.

“Once you start reading, be prepared, because you won’t want to stop as Lara chronicles how she went from surviving behind bars to becoming a best-selling ghostwriter and author, sharing her harrowing, sometimes hilarious, and often heartbreaking journey from her arrest and conviction to her release and ultimate reinvention,” Winfrey said in a statement Tuesday.

As she has done with previous club picks, Winfrey popped up during a video conference call between Hardin and her publisher, Simon & Schuster, and broke the news.

“I had to ask myself if this was real life or my overactive imagination,” Hardin said in a statement. “Her spotlight is humbling and validating and I know it will also shine a light on the shared story of all incarcerated women. Words are inadequate to convey what an incredible, fantastical, dream-fulfilling honor this is as an author, nor how much it means to me that this new plot twist to my story will become a part of the story my children someday tell to their children.”

Hardin has been cited by Winfrey before. She co-wrote, and was fully credited for the prison memoir “The Sun Does Shine,” by Anthony Ray Hinton, who spent nearly 30 years on death row in Alabama on a wrongful murder conviction. “The Sun Does Shine” was a Winfrey selection in 2018. “The Many Lives of Mama Love” is Winfrey’s 104th book choice since she started the club in 1996, her previous selections ranging from Michelle Obama’s “Becoming” to Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road.”

Tuesday’s announcement comes at a time of growing prominence for ghost writers, among them J.R. Moehringer, widely praised for his work on Prince Harry’s “Spare.” In January, the Gotham Ghostwriters and the American Society of Journalists and Authors co-presented the first-ever national conference of ghost writers, “Gathering of the Ghosts,” in New York City.

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