4th Estate has acquired What We Are Teaching Our Sons by journalist and copywriter Owen Booth, and another untitled novel, from Julia Silk at MBA.
The book, a fusion of fiction, memoir and "self-help book-that-doesn’t-guarantee-in-any-way-to-help", takes the form of a series of "lessons" by un-named narrators trying to teach their (mostly resistant) sons life lessons, including the "absurdity of fatherhood" and "what it means to 'be a man'". Topics covered range from relationships to death, by way of the great outdoors, whales, martians, and the ultimate fate of the universe.
Helen Garnons-Williams, publishing Director at 4th Estate, acquired world English rights to publish in 2019.
Garnons-Williams said: “We have all been bowled over by this remarkable and original book. It’s rare to find a writer who can blend humour and pathos, warmth and honesty to such charming, lasting, wise effect, and we are thrilled to welcome Owen to 4th Estate. What We're Teaching Our Sons is a book that you want to press into the hands of anyone who has ever attempted to undertake the impossible task of arming a child for all life has in store.”
Booth, a London-based father of two sons, won the 2015 White Review Short Story Prize and was recently awarded third prize in the Moth Short Story competition. He added: "I'm really excited to be working with 4th Estate to bring What We're Teaching Our Sons to life. I've been blown away by their enthusiasm and vision for the book. They completely get what I've been trying to do with the project - and I can't wait to bring it to a wider audience with them."