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March 2019 Non-Fiction: Biography & Autobiography

If I Live to Be 100
Lessons from the Centenarians
By (author): Neenah Ellis
9781984823502 Hardcover English General Trade BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Personal Memoirs Mar 05, 2019
$22.00 CAD
Active 5.2 x 7.4 x 0.9 in 272 pages Crown Archetype Three Rivers Press
Now with a new package, Neenah Ellis’s New York Times bestselling book takes us inside the world of the very old and invites us to learn from them firsthand the art of living well for an exceptionally long period of time.

Neenah Ellis always wanted to live to 100, and her fascination led her to interview centenarians from all over the country about what life was like at the very beginning of the century, and how things have changed over time. Ellis, a producer for National Public Radio, spent an unforgettable year traveling with her tape recorder and listening to the stories of America’s oldest men and women. She met a couple who courted by horse and sleigh in Vermont during the winter of 1918, and she spent a week with the oldest living black lesbian in America. She visited a nationally known expert on dyslexia who published a book at 96 and whose great-great-grandfather was a colonel in Washington’s army; and she met Anna Wilmot, the row-boating centenarian from New England who captured the hearts of thousands of NPR listeners with her confession that she swims in the buff only “when it’s foggy and there’s no fisherman around.”

Originally conceived as an American history project, Ellis’s year of interviews became much more, a personal journey of growth and transformation. Once she had put away the exigencies of her cusp-of-the-millennium life—her deadlines, the intense focus on current events, the endless email and ringing phones—she began to learn the kinds of things that we do from much older people. She started to connect in her conversations with them, and to see the virtue of looking forward, as the centenarians did, not backward. They reminded her that the moment—this very moment that we’re in right now—is precious and fine. And that the true richness of life is to be found in each other—in our marriages and friendships, in the intellectual life that we share with each other, and in the ways that we become connected. Their stories add up to a course in living well, with lessons and inspiration for all of us.

NEW GIFTY PACKAGE: We will be giving this package an overhaul, focusing on a beautiful look that’s perfect for gifting throughout the year.

PERENNIAL BESTSELLER: If I Live to Be 100 has had a long and healthy publication life, netting over 117,000 copies sold across formats and appearing on the New York Times extended bestseller list, and continues to sell steadily.

WIDELY COVERED: Ellis appeared on the Today show, was interviewed by major newspapers including the Baltimore Sun, Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Chicago Tribune, and did several long and hugely effective interviews on NPR.

INCREASING NUMBER OF CENTENARIANS: The US Census figures show that the number of centenarians doubled during the 1990s to an estimated 70,000. By the middle of the century, analysts predict there will be 834,000. Just about everybody knows and has been touched by someone who is 100 years old, and our fascination with long life continues to grow as the population ages.

NEENAH ELLIS, formerly a staff producer for NPR’s All Things Considered, is the general manager of public radio station WYSO in Yellow Springs Ohio, where she lives with her husband, Noah Adams.

Author Residence: Yellow Springs, Ohio

Author Hometown: Valparaiso, Indiana

Publicity: National print attention

National/regional NPR campaign

Radio satellite tour

Feature Website:

[If I Live to be 100] is a testimonial to resilience and the perserverence of individuals whose life expectancies are just a few years.” —New York Times

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