When Gil Scott-Heron died this May, the world lost not only a great musician but also a great writer. Thankfully, he left behind one final classic album — last year’s I’m New Here — and a few final books. The UK company Canongate released Scott-Heron’s final poetry collection, Now and Then, in June and will publish Scott-Heron’s memoir, The Last Holiday on January 16th. The book will recount the artist’s experiences as part of the civil rights movement, along with his historic tour with Stevie Wonder in 1980 and 1981, which coincided with the pair’s campaign to make Martin Luther King Jr. Day (i.e. January 16th) a national holiday.
The Last Holiday had been in the works for quite a while before Scott-Heron’s death — in the Guardian , Canongate publisher Jamie Byng recalled the first time they talked about the book, in the mid-’90s. Canongate has uploaded a recording of the artist reading from a very early version of the book. You can download it here, along with a PDF of the finished chapter. [ Wire via Pitchfork]