13th December, 2023
3 min read
One of our more memorable titles...
I’m often asked what the most memorable books that Troubador has helped authors self-publish in the last 25 years; certainly one of them was If It’s Not Impossible: The Life of Sir Nicholas Winton, the inspiring but modest man who organised the Kindertransport out of Prague in 1938-39.
Back in late 2013 I received a phone call from Barbara, enquiring about the possibility of self-publishing with Troubador, a memoir. We receive many such calls, but this was to prove to be notable, as her memoir was of her father, Sir Nicholas Winton MBE, written by his daughter Barbara Winton. I had heard of the Kindertransport previously, from being involved in an amateur production of the 1993 play by Diane Samuels of the same name, but I knew little of Sir Nicholas and the rescue he had set in motion in 1938.
A British stockbroker and humanitarian, Sir Nicholas helped to rescue Jewish children who were at risk of being murdered by Nazi Germany during the Holocaust. He set in train the rescue of nearly 700 children, most of them Jewish, from Czechoslovakia on the eve of World War II.
Barbara Winton decided to self-publish her father's memoir with Troubador, and in April 2014 it was released for sale to bookshops in the UK, and internationally via Print On Demand, thankfully well in time for Sir Nicholas to see it before he passed away in 2015. The book was an instant success, and the title had to reprint at least three or four times in the next couple of years.
By 2017 the memoir had started to attract the attention of TV and film agents, drawn understandably to the story; a trickle of enquiries from agents turned into a torrent, all of which I forwarded on to Barbara (as the rights holder) to follow up on. Then great excitement (but very hush-hush) when Barbara intimated that the film rights to the book had in fact been sold, and that she was hopeful that Sir Anthony Hopkins would agree to play the role of her father. The film world moves slowly, so over the next year or so, nothing seemed to happen, until Barbara confirmed to me that indeed the film was going ahead, and Sir Anthony was to play her father. When it was released, she said, she’d invite me along to the premier!
The film was made in 2021-22, with Barbara Winton as one of its producers, but sadly she passed away in September 2022 before its release. Shortly afterwards, her self-published book If It’s Not Impossible was withdrawn from sale and made out of print, but it has since been re-written and released by Robinson (Little Brown) on 30th November 2023 as One Life.
The Warner Brothers film One Life, starring Sir Anthony Hopkins, Helena Bonham Carter and Jonathan Pryce, is released in UK cinemas on 1st January 2024. Sadly no invitation to the premiere, but Troubador will be taking its staff on a night out to see the film on its release. We are proud to have played a (very small) part in helping Barbara Winton to bring the inspiring story of her father to the wider world, and we wish the film every success. One of our more notable titles over the years indeed.