Feb 14, 2022

Train Lord prempted by Penguin Michael Joseph in 48 hours

Oliver Mol’s

Penguin Michael Joseph have pre-empted TRAIN LORD by Oliver Mol. Editorial director Jillian Taylor acquired World Rights to the memoir from Marianne Gunn O’Connor. Michael Joseph will publish in summer 2022.

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In the tradition of Brain on Fire and Darkness Visible, with the hopefulness of Reasons to Stay Alive, Train Lord is a candid, illuminating narrative of courage and uncertainty, boldly examining the deep impact of illness on one young man’s life.


Seven years ago, Oliver Mol was a healthy twenty-five-year-old. Then one day the headaches started. For ten months the pain was constant, exacerbated by writing, reading, using computers, looking at phones or anything with a screen. His doctors couldn’t figure out how to fix him. Isolated and in pain, Oliver suffers a breakdown. One evening, high on pain killers, he googled the only thing he could think of: ‘full-time job, no experience, Sydney’.  An ad for a train guard appeared. For two years Oliver will watch others live their lives, observing the minutia and intimacy of strangers brought together briefly until his own sense of self slowly returned.


A lyrical, heartbreaking account about Oliver’s 10-month migraine, his recovery in Australia, and a job on the railway when there were no other options, Train Lord is an extraordinary memoir – a story of identity, family, loss, shame and addiction, but ultimately one of hope, persistence and learning to start again.


Editorial Director Jillian Taylor said, ‘Train Lord is a stunning piece of non-fiction that upends all the tropes of the illness memoir. Oliver’s emotional journey back to health explores what it truly means to feel at home in one’s body. Illuminating an illness that affects millions but which remains widely misunderstood, this book is about the darkness of depression, but it is also ultimately about survival and redemption. Oliver is an astonishingly brave writer, and we are so delighted to be publishing his book and launching a very exciting career.’


Oliver Mol said ‘In 2015, I suffered a 10-month migraine. No doctors could help me, and I nearly threw myself in front of a train. It wasn’t that I wanted to die; I just wanted, needed, the pain to end. After I began working as a rail guard, I discovered a new sense of self. Slowly I found my way back to writing. This memoir grew out of paragraphs – sometimes prayers – scribbled on the backs of train diagrams. It is a book that I never in my wildest dreams expected to be published, much less published by Penguin Michael Joseph. Train Lord was my way out of a difficult time, and I hope that it might help someone else realise that they are also not alone. Because this is, in the end, a story of hope.’

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