Warren Ellis Is Releasing a Book Called Nina Simone’s Gum


Warren Ellis Is Releasing a Book Called Nina Simone’s Gum

The nonfiction book (with a Nick Cave foreword) concerns a piece of gum that Simone chewed and the Bad Seed kept as a totem
Warren Ellis smiling
Warren Ellis (Karwai Tang/WireImage)

Warren Ellis will release his debut book on October 19, via Faber & Faber. Titled Nina Simone’s Gum, the nonfiction book is about just that: a piece of chewed gum that the Nick Cave collaborator and Bad Seeds lynchpin acquired in 1999, when Simone played the Meltdown festival that Cave curated. Awed by her set, Ellis snuck on-stage and procured the gum from her piano. For 20 years he kept it as a totem, before casting the gum in silver and gold for display in Cave’s Stranger Than Kindness exhibition

The book illuminates “how something so small can form beautiful connections between people,” a press release notes. “It is a story about the meaning we place on things, on experiences, and how they become imbued with spirituality. It is a celebration of artistic process, friendship, understanding and love.” Ellis, not to be confused with the British writer of the same name, enlisted Cave to write the book’s introduction. It arrives several weeks earlier in the UK, on September 2. 

Ellis and Marianne Faithfull released a collaborative album called She Walks in Beauty in April.

Read “Nina Simone: Her Art and Life in 33 Songs.”

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