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Boris Johnson 'signs £500k book deal' to write Shakespeare biography

The reported deal is said to be worth seven times his MP's salary

Daisy Wyatt
Sunday 26 July 2015 21:49 BST

London Mayor and recently elected MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip Boris Johnson has signed a £500,000 book deal to write a biography about Shakespeare.

Johnson, whose best-selling biography of Churchill was lauded by critics last year, will write the book in time for a 2016 release to mark the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death.

The lucrative £500,000 book deal from publishing house Hodder is worth seven times his £74,000 MP’s salary, according to The Sunday Times.

Johnson’s decision to write the biography while serving as an MP and Mayor of London in addition to writing a column for The Telegraph has led to doubts about his commitment to his political work.

When asked by The Independent whether he was happy with his new role as an MP, he replied: “Well, it’s not exactly a job, is it?” and later described his position as a “zero-hours contract”.

Johnson, who will remain Mayor of London until 2016, had been thought to be a forerunner to challenge David Cameron to become the next Prime Minister, but appears to be taking a back seat in the House of Commons.

The biography will be the 12th book the politician has written, following the success of The Churchill Factor: How One Man Made History, which sold more than 160,000 hard back copies since its release in October last year.

Johnson’s Shakespeare biography will compete in a crowded market place to mark the 400th anniversary of the Bard's death, rivalling books by scholars including James Shapiro, Stanley Wells and Paul Edmondson, as well as a novelised version of The Winter’s Tale from Jeanette Winterson.

The 51-year-old currently earns £47,970 for his job as London Mayor (cut from £143,000 since he became an MP), £74,000 as an MP and £275,000 for his column in The Daily Telegraph.

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