Baggage

Tales from a Fully Packed Life

Alan Cumming

Baggage by Alan Cumming (Hardback ISBN 9781838856632) book cover

Available as Hardback, eBook, Downloadable audio

A joyous and poignant book about the world of professional acting, the messiness of life and how every experience – good or bad – shapes who you are, from the New York Times bestselling author of Not My Father’s Son

‘No one ever fully recovers from their past. There is no cure for it. You just learn to manage and prioritise it. I believe the second you feel you have triumphed or overcome something, anything – an abuse, an injury to the body or the mind, an addiction, a character flaw, a habit, a person – you have merely decided to stop being vigilant and embraced denial as your modus operandi. And that is what this book is about, and for: to remind you not to buy in to the Hollywood ending.’

Baggage chronicles the actor’s life in Hollywood and the ways in which work has repeatedly whisked him away from personal calamities to sets and stages around the world. Taking us through the highs and lows of his career, his struggle with mental health, each failed relationship or encounter with a legend (Liza! X-Men! Gore Vidal! Kubrick! Spice Girls!), every bad decision or moment of sensual joy, Cumming shows how every experience – good or bad – has shaped who he is today: a happy, flawed, vulnerable, fearless middle-aged man, with a lot of baggage. Startlingly honest, both poignant and joyous, Baggage shines a light on how to embrace the complicated messiness of life.


“An intimate look at the making of a man, an actor, an advocate and – most importantly – a happy human being. Cumming is a natural raconteur, and this feels like a private conversation between the author and the reader. A wonderful book that is funny, honest, fearless and generous in its vulnerability”
Douglas Stuart

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“It seems fundamentally unfair that Alan Cumming is, in addition to being a fine actor and a wicked performer, such a hell of a good writer. But he is. He’s observant, honest, often trenchantly funny, always emotionally honest. He’s an international treasure”
Neil Gaiman

“To read Baggage is to spend time with the most engaging companion in the world. Charm, wit, insight, entrancingly disarming self-knowledge, hilarious stories by the basketful, Alan Cumming’s attributes are endlessly enriching and enchanting. Only one negative, I just hated to see the right-hand page count, the pages yet to be read, thinning down and reminding me, like a tolling bell, that this joyous ride was coming to an end”
Stephen Fry

“I could not love this man or this book more. Alan writes with such unvarnished truth and a humour that can only come from a brilliant mind, rapier wit and resilience from emotionally painful life experiences. This book – like Alan is off the page – is full of insight, compassion, intellect and wisdom. This is the best Baggage to have”
Monica Lewinsky

“Everything that makes Alan Cumming so engaging as a person and a performer – his cleverness, kindness, charm, wildness and, above all, authenticity – shines from every page of this wonderful, witty and wise book”
Nigella Lawson


Alan Cumming

Alan Cumming’s many awards for his stage and screen work include the Tony, Olivier, BAFTA and Emmy. He is the author of two children’s books, a book of photographs and stories, a novel and a memoir, Not My Father’s Son. He is a podcaster (Alan Cumming’s Shelves) and an amateur barman (NYC’s Club Cumming).

@Alancumming | alancumming.com


Baggage cover

Alan Cumming reads from his memoir Baggage: Tales From a Fully Packed Life.

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