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Prince wrote a book? By hand? Memoir expected in late 2018.

Prince: Soon to be a posthumous man of letters.

Prince: Soon to be a posthumous man of letters. AP

While legal wrangling keeps Prince’s unreleased music locked away in the vault, there may yet be a surprise release before the end of the year: his autobiography.

In March 2016, publisher Spiegel & Grau announced that it had signed a deal with Prince, who was apparently ready to tell his life story. Now Variety reports that Prince submitted 50 pages—handwritten—to his publisher before his death.

The news came from Prince’s publishing agent, Esther Newberg, who said the project is proceeding and the book should be published in time for the holidays next winter, possibly with reproductions of Prince’s longhand pages.

Newberg says she secured the book deal by inviting three editors to Paisley Park, where each had to make a case for why Prince should choose them. “It’s never been done before,” Newberg told Variety. “Editors don’t like to be in the same room making their pitches to the same potential clients. We had to do it because I knew he would not want to meet individually with editors.”

"Millions of words have been written about Prince—books and articles, essays and criticism,” Spiegel & Grau executive editor Chris Jackson said in a statement last March. “But we're thrilled to be publishing Prince's powerful reflections on his own life in his own incandescently vivid, witty, and poetic voice."

Would we have ever seen this autobiography if Prince had lived? It’s entirely possible that Prince, mercurial second-guesser that he was, would’ve called the project off, or that editorial differences would have sidelined it. But events seem to have conspired to make what the publisher is calling "an unconventional and poetic journey through his life and creative work" a reality.