Ani DiFranco, the proudly independent folk-rock artist who self-released her first LP in 1990, will release a memoir next spring. No Walls and the Recurring Dream will come out via Viking on May 7th.
The book will chronicle her early life, her music, feminism and political activism, as well as her endeavors into philanthropy and entrepreneurship. “Ani’s coming of age story is defined by her ethos of fierce independence — from being an emancipated minor sleeping in a Buffalo bus station, to unwaveringly building a career through appearances at small clubs and festivals, to releasing her first album at the age of 18, to consciously rejecting the mainstream recording industry and creating her own label, Righteous Babe Records,” her publisher writes. “In these pages, as in life, she never hesitates to challenge established rules and expectations, maintaining a level of artistic integrity that has impressed many and antagonized more than a few.”
Since putting out her self-titled debut, DiFranco has issued 18 records via Righteous Babe; her most recent, Binary, came out last summer. She achieved a commercial breakthrough in the mid-Nineties, when her albums Little Plastic Castle and Up Up Up Up Up Up made it into the Top 30 of Billboard’s album chart. She’s maintained a steady touring schedule since then, playing several dozen gigs each year. She’s also stood up for LGBTQ, gender equality and environmental causes.
When she first announced the book last year, she expounded on the difference between writing music and prose, such as in the memoir. “Writing songs is not really about discipline,” she said. “There’s work, yes, but also to really get it right the clouds must part and a shaft of light come down, in a living moment things must align. Writing prose has already presented itself differently to me. It feels like sitting in front of a huge slab of timeless stone and staring unfocused until a figure appears, and then chipping … and chipping, and then again un-focusing the eyes. A much more Zen exercise in its ritual and manual labor. I am very excited about exploring this new kind of writing and making a book.”