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Biography & Autobiography Composers & Musicians

Stories I Might Regret Telling You

A Memoir

by (author) Martha Wainwright

Random House of Canada
Initial publish date
Mar 2022
Composers & Musicians, Women, History & Criticism
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2022
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2023
    List Price

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The singer-songwriter’s heartfelt memoir about growing up in a bohemian musical family and her experiences with love, loss, motherhood, divorce, the music industry, and more.

Born into music royalty, the daughter of folk legends Kate McGarrigle and Loudon Wainwright III and sister to the highly acclaimed, genre-defying singer Rufus Wainwright, Martha grew up in a world filled with incomparable musical legends—Anna McGarrigle, Leonard Cohen, Suzzy Roche, Richard and Linda Thompson, Emmylou Harris—and struggled to find her voice in a milieu in which every drama was refracted through song. Then, in 2005, she released her critically acclaimed debut album, Martha Wainwright, containing the blistering hit, “Bloody Mother F*cking Asshole,” which the Sunday Times called one of the best songs of that year. That release, and the albums that followed, such as Come Home to Mama and I Know You’re Married But I’ve Got Feelings Too, showcased Martha’s searing songwriting style and established her as a powerful voice to be reckoned with.

Martha digs into her life with the same emotional honesty that has come to define her music. She describes her tumultuous public-facing journey from awkward, earnest, and ultimately rebellious daughter, through her intense competition and ultimate alliance with her brother, Rufus, to finding her voice as an artist and the indescribable loss of their mother, Kate. With candor and grace, Martha writes of becoming a mother herself, finally understanding and facing the challenge of being a female artist with children. Stories I Might Regret Telling You is a thoughtful, moving account of the extraordinary life of one of the most talented singer-songwriters in music today.

About the author

Contributor Notes

MARTHA WAINWRIGHT is an internationally renowned singer-songwriter, with over two decades of industry experience. Critically-acclaimed for the rawness and emotional honesty of both her vocals and lyrics, her albums include: Martha Wainwright (2005); I Know You're Married But I've Got Feelings Too (2008); Come Home to Mama (2012); the JUNO-nominated Songs in the Dark (2015), a collaboration with her half-sister Lucy Wainwright Roche; Goodnight City (2016); and her latest album Love Will Be Reborn (2021). She is also an actress and was featured in Martin Scorsese's Aviator and the recent HBO special, Olive Kitteridge.

Editorial Reviews

“A beautiful and clear-eyed memoir, full of music, friendship, love and heartache. Somehow at once sizzling and wise, as undeniable as the singer who wrote it.” —Sean Michaels, Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning novelist and founder of Said the Gramophone

Stories I Might Regret Telling You made me feel like I was sitting in a corner of one of [Wainwright’s] New York apartments, reading her private diaries under a blanket with a flashlight. Martha writes like a soldier in the trenches sending word home, not knowing whether she will live or die, bringing uncomfortable, sometimes unbearable, honesty to bear. I was sucked in from the first page, though occasionally I winced because it was all so relatable. A casual sadness strings itself through her story of becoming herself, taking no prisoners, casting regret aside like a cigarette. I kept rereading certain sentences thinking they would make such wonderful songs. This entire memoir is a song. I turned the last page and felt like I had made a new friend, the kind you wish you were cool enough to have but never had the courage to pursue.” –Jann Arden, singer, songwriter, TV star and bestselling author

“With disarming candor and courage, Martha tells us of finding her own voice (one, in my opinion, without peer) and peace as a working artist and mother. Her story is made more unique because of the remarkably gifted musical family she was born into.”
—Emmylou Harris

“What a wonderful gift this book is! Martha Wainwright has opened the door to let us into the fabled glamorous family that is the McGarrigle-Wainwrights and reveals what it is like to be the black sheep of the bunch, the glorious earnest under-achiever who has always been the most loveable of them all. Her warm, rich writing displays the sweetness her songwriting possesses and, at the same time, is filled with the humor, panache and gutsy feminism of her live performances. Wainwright shows us how a big, dysfunctional brood can also be a blessing, filled with gifts that make the heart grow bigger. A surprising and brilliantly relatable book.”
—Heather O’Neill, bestselling author of The Lonely Hearts Hotel
Stories I Might Regret Telling You [is] a freewheeling tell-all the likes of which we rarely see in the age of publicist-muzzled celebrities. . . . [A] deep gash of a memoir.” —Reader’s Digest Canada

“[T]he tenor of [Stories I Might Regret Telling You is] acerbic, often hilarious and more candid than it should be. . . . But that’s Wainwright, and her transparency is the book’s golden ticket. . . . To the initiated, she is one of a kind, greatly admired for her blood-letting autobiographical songs and adventurous one-offs. . . . In short, she has had a life worth documenting. At the end of 244 remarkable pages, she signs off with a typically self-effacing line: ‘Perhaps I am someone whose luck gets better halfway through. That would be good.’ It would be good, and she would deserve it.” —The Guardian
“You might not apply the words cool and casual to Stories I Might Regret Telling You by Martha Wainwright, but only because it’s like reading extremely private diary entries through your laced fingers. From page one, chapter one, Wainwright pulls no punches. . . . It continues with equal measures of directness and poignancy. . . . Neither the industry in which she works nor her family gets off lightly, and that includes Wainwright herself, who is to candid self-reflection as a moth is to a flame. . . . Confessional and contemplative to the nth degree, you won’t regret reading it.” —The Irish Times

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