Cobain Diaries Will Be 'Huge,' Says Publisher Who Got Sneak Peek

Courtney Love gives book industry a sample of her late husband's writings.

NEW YORK — Publishers got a sneak peek at Kurt Cobain's diaries this week, as Courtney Love and her reps made available two notebooks' worth of the late Nirvana frontman's personal journals.

Love had previously allowed author Charles R. Cross to use excerpts of the writings in his 2001 Cobain biography, "Heavier Than Heaven" (see "Cobain Book Shows Singer's Life 'Heavier' Than Most Imagined"). Though Cross had unprecedented access to Cobain's journals and letters, much more material remains — about 800 pages, one-tenth of which was shown to prospective publishers on Tuesday and Wednesday.

One publisher who took a look said the journal entries cover a wide range of material, including Cobain's review of an early Melvins gig in a supermarket parking lot, his beginning attempts to write songs such as "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and love letters to Love.

Some of the material overlapped with what Cross used in his book, such as the Melvins show review, in which Cobain writes about discovering punk rock: "They played faster than I ever imagine music could be played and with more energy than my Iron Maiden records could provide. This is what I was looking for."

"I'll admit being a big fan and having high expectations, but this exceeded them," said the publishing source, who asked not to be identified so that negotiations to procure the diary wouldn't be jeopardized. "As long as I've worked in the business and think I've seen it all, I've never seen anything like this. Unlike the biography, this was an unmediated look at one of the greatest minds of the 20th century. And the biographer had limited access. There were lists of his favorite albums, precise descriptions of what it was like to be an addict, heartbreaking letters. This will have long-lasting value, this will be a huge book."

The source said that in shopping the diaries, Love is very interested in how publishers will present, package and market the book, and has made it known that while she'll cooperate with some promotion, it will have to be limited — no standard promotional book tour.

"It would make it seem wrong," he said. He estimated that the project would command a seven-figure deal once final bids are collected on Monday.