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14.10.11 | Benedicte Page
Popular science writer Simon Singh has accepted a six-figure world English language rights pre-empt made at Frankfurt by Bloomsbury for a book about mathematics and the long-running US TV hit "The Simpsons".
The deal is Singh's first since successfully defending himself against a libel charge from the British Chiropractic Association, a legal case that kept him from writing for three years. The deal via by Patrick Walsh of Conville and Walsh, with Richard Atkinson set to be Singh's UK publisher, joined by George Gibson at Bloomsbury New York and Kathleen Farrar at Bloomsbury Australia.
Six of the 10 writers of "The Simpsons" are high-level mathematics PhDs and for years they have been making mathematical jokes to each other in the series, such as writing formulae up on blackboards or on car numberplates. The jokes have developed a cult following among the scientific community. Singh's new book will explain those obsessions and why they are so intriguing, aiming at a general audience in the manner of Alex Bellos' Adventures in Numberland. Walsh said: "Simon is a writer of real stature and himself a mathematician, hence the reason why Bloomsbury moved so fast."
Meanwhile Dan Franklin at Jonathan Cape has pre-empted British Commonwealth rights in the first book by Professor Dave Goulson, the 44-year-old British bumblebee scientist.
The deal was again handled by Conville and Walsh, with Walsh calling Goulson "a great literary writer who editors have been comparing to Richard Mabey and Mark Cocker".