By Carolyn Todd
Updated November 04, 2014 at 05:25 PM EST
Credit: JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images
Credit: JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images

Simon & Schuster announced in a press release yesterday that it has inked a deal for a new Paul Simon biography, a definitive life account of the Simon & Garfunkel musician—and the first to involve the music legend himself in its creation. “For fifty years, Paul Simon has been a major cultural force,” said S&S President and Publisher Jonathan Karp. “This book will be essential to anyone who wants to understand how he did it.”

Robert Hilburn, former pop music editor and critic at The Los Angeles Times, will write the biography. He first interviewed Simon for the paper back in the early 1970s. “I’m confident Robert Hilburn will write an insightful book. I enjoyed and admired his biography of Johnny Cash and I think he’ll tell my story well,” Simon said, referring to the 2013 bestseller and critical favorite, Johnny Cash: A Life. No release date has been set, but the pair has already started a series of in-depth interviews, and Simon is telling his friends, family, and collaborators to share their stories with Hilburn.

“Simon is the consummate songwriter,” Hilburn said. “His music has spoken about our lives and times with such an intimacy, insight and grace that they share an important place in our cultural consciousness. The book will be a gripping, inspiring portrait of an artist, including the toughness and heart it requires to avoid giving in to the many factors—from rejection to self-doubt to writer’s block and complacency—that have derailed so many pop artists.”

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and 12-time Grammy winner kicked off his career five decades ago, partnering with Art Garfunkel to become one of America’s all-time favorite musical duos. Simon, who went on to create a number of moodier but still popular solo albums, is still busy in the studio today. “I thought seriously about writing my own memoir, but I’d rather devote my time to making music, which continues to hold my full attention,” he said.