Damien Hirst to publish tell-all autobiography

Damien Hirst Damien Hirst has become one of the UK's most successful living artists

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Damien Hirst is to publish his autobiography, promising to lay bare the British modern art world.

Hirst rose from humble beginnings in Leeds to become the UK's richest living artist, worth £215m according to the Sunday Times' Rich List.

Penguin Books has promised to push the book in the same "radical" manner as Morrissey's autobiography, which was published under its classic imprint.

The artist has selected journalist James Fox as his ghostwriter.

Fox was the writer behind Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards' autobiography, as well as the book White Mischief, which recounted the Happy Valley murder case in Kenya in 1941.

Hirst was one of the founding members of the Young British Artists (YBA) movement, which also counted Tracey Emin, Sarah Lucas and Mark Wallinger amongst its numbers.

Many of them were students at Goldsmiths College in London in the late 1980s. Their first major exhibition, in a warehouse, attracted a number of influential art collectors, including Charles Saatchi - who would later become one of his Hirst's greatest supporters.

'Saving connection'

Hirst's work - which includes spot paintings and a sheep and shark preserved in formaldehyde - has frequently had the ability to shock.

A two-day auction of his work in 2008 raised a record-breaking £111m.

Speaking on the Today programme, Fox said: "He (Hirst) grew up in a pretty bad situation, with his mother, and he and his gang - many of whom became YBA artists, spent half their time housebreaking, stealing, [indulging in] criminality, and the rest of their time indulging their passion for art, which started very early on in their years.

"I found that completely fascinating, moving, the idea of a saving connection to art. The fearlessness of Damien, his ability to take on authority, to never say anything can't be done, to break all the rules. That very much comes from that background."

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