The extraordinary life of one of the world’s greatest music and literary icons, in the words of those who knew him best.
Poet, novelist, singer-songwriter, artist, prophet, icon—there has never been a figure like Leonard Cohen. He was a true giant in contemporary western culture, entertaining and inspiring people everywhere with his work. From his groundbreaking and bestselling novels, The Favourite Game and Beautiful Losers, to timeless songs such as “Suzanne,” “Dance Me to the End of Love,” and “Hallelujah,” Cohen is a cherished artist. His death in 2016 was felt around the world by the many fans and followers who would miss his warmth, humour, intellect, and piercing insights.
Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories chronicles the full breadth of his extraordinary life. The first of three volumes—The Early Years—follows him from his boyhood in Montreal to university, and his burgeoning literary career to the world of music, culminating with his first international tour in 1970.
Through the voices of those who knew him best—family and friends, colleagues and contemporaries, rivals, business partners, and his many lovers—the book probes deeply into both Cohen’s public and private life. It also paints a portrait of an era, the social, cultural, and political revolutions that shook the 1960s.
In this revealing and entertaining first volume, bestselling author and biographer Michael Posner draws on hundreds of interviews to reach beyond the Cohen of myth and reveal the unique, complex, and compelling figure of the real man.
Michael Posner is an award-winning writer, playwright, journalist, and the author of seven books. These include the Mordecai Richler biography, The Last Honest Man, and the Anne Murray biography, All of Me, both of which were national bestsellers. He was Washington Bureau Chief for Maclean’s magazine, and later served as its national, foreign, and assistant managing editor. He was also managing editor of the Financial Times of Canada for three years. He later spent sixteen years as a senior writer with The Globe and Mail.
Praise for Leonard Cohen, Untold Stories
“With this book, Michael Posner has pushed the horizons of biographical possibility. The voices gathered here are indispensable to complete the splendid mosaic that is Leonard Cohen.”
— SOHEYL DAHI, poet, writer, and publisher
“Out of a welter of stories—from those who encountered Leonard Cohen as associate, friend, or lover—Michael Posner has shaped a fascinating multi-faceted portrait. Posner is indeed Cohen’s Boswell, no doubt about it.”
— SEYMOUR MAYNE, poet, editor, and translator
“Posner masterfully weaves an abundance of interviews with Cohen’s family, friends, and myriad lovers to create an intricate tapestry and, ultimately, produces the most revealing portrait of the legendary songwriter and wordsmith to date.”
— NICHOLAS JENNINGS, journalist and bestselling author of Lightfoot
“Through these stories, a unique portrait of a young Leonard Cohen is revealed, with insights into not only his extraordinary life but also his timeless poetry and music.”
— ANNE MURRAY, Grammy Award–winning singer
“Posner is our Cohen-centric tour guide. He has delivered an enthralling oral history, carefully weaving the multi-voice narratives to us in a revealing, deep-dive exploration. I eagerly await the next volume.”
— HARVEY KUBERNIK, music historian and author of Leonard Cohen: Everybody Knows