Fourth Estate has won a 10-publisher auction for Pauline Harmange’s I Hate Men, which caused a storm when on its release in France, with calls for it to be banned.
Editorial director Anna Kelly scooped world English rights from Julie Finidori at the Julie Finidori Agency, for release on 26th November in a translation by Natasha Lehrer.
Originally released in France this year by small press Monstrograph, the essay argues the charge of misandry is brought against feminists as a silencing tactic, that women’s mistrust of men is not the direct inverse of misogyny and that women should have the right not to like men.
It became the subject of controversy after an adviser to France’s Gender Equality Ministry attempted to have it banned. The book quickly sold out its initial print run and went on to sell 2,500 copies in two weeks. Rights in France have now been taken over by Éditions du Seuil, which will publish in October.
Kelly said: “Thought-provoking and intelligent, I Hate Men boldly interrogates attitudes to feminism and equality, and also acts as a reminder of the crucial importance of freedom of speech and the right to offend. This book will inspire both hope and rage – and will breathe fire into a vital ongoing cultural conversation.”
Harmange commented: “I am honoured and thrilled to be published by 4th Estate alongside Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Joan Didion and Doris Lessing, among many others! I hope English readers will enjoy the book and find comfort and strength in it.”
Lehrer is also the translator of Vanessa Springora’s memoir Consent, forthcoming from HarperVia in February, about the author, a renowned French publisher, being groomed by an influential French writer from the age of fourteen.
She said of I Hate Men: “Behind its provocative title, more Jonathan Swift than Valerie Solanas, this is a whip-smart, thoughtful, amusing treatise on the persistent gender inequality that plagues our society. The twist in the tail of the unexpected success of this modest pamphlet, the delicious irony of a male French government minister demanding it be banned, would have quite delighted Swift.”