Sceptre has pre-empted economist Noreena Hertz’s “game-changing” book, The Lonely Century: How Isolation Imperils our Future, within 24 hours of submission, with similar deals taking place across the world after “a huge amount of international interest”.
Juliet Brooke, editorial director at the Hodder & Stoughton imprint, pre-empted world rights, excluding the US, from Jonny Geller at Curtis Brown, with publication slated for spring 2020.
Across the pond, Crown’s executive editor Talia Krohn pre-empted US rights, also within 24 hours, from Kristine Dahl at ICM on behalf of Jonny Geller. Sceptre said the book had its rights team "abuzz" with pre-empts from Barend Wallet at Unieboek Spectrum for Dutch rights – also within 24 hours – and Lawen Mohtadi at Natur & Kultur for Swedish rights.
Exploring the nature and prevalence of isolation in the modern world, The Lonely Century is billed by Sceptre as "an important, game-changing book about the most pressing issue of today".
“Tackling the loneliness crisis from a global perspective, the author demonstrates how a wide range of modern advances have conspired to sever our connection to the world and each other and why if we do not intervene it is going to get much worse," the publisher said. "The Lonely Century closes with a call for arms and a bold new vision for what we must do at an individual, government and business level if we are to reconnect society, repair its fractures and alleviate our collective loneliness. Ultimately this is a book of hope."
Brooke revealed she feels “evangelical” about this book.
“The Lonely Century takes an intimate issue and shows how the political, economic and technological infrastructure of our lives colours our most private emotions, and the societal crisis that engenders,” she said. “Taking in everything from the rise of the far-right to courtesy towards robots, The Lonely Century has the power to change how we behave, which is very exciting indeed.”
Hertz says: “I am overwhelmed by the response I have had to my proposal globally and delighted to be working with Juliet Brooke and the whole team at Sceptre as well as Talia Krohn and Crown on the publication of this book.”
Hertz advises a select group of the world’s leading business and political figures on strategy, economic and geo-political risk, artificial intelligence, digital transformation, and different sectors of society. Having graduated from university aged 19, she went on to complete a PhD from Cambridge University and has an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. She is now based at University College London where she is an honorary professor.