Allen & Unwin is publishing Red: A Natural History of the Redhead by Jacky Colliss Harvey in September (£16.99).
Allen & Unwin, an imprint of Atlantic Books, described it as “the only book of its kind to explore red hair and redheadedness from pre-history to the present day”. Clare Drysdale, the book’s editor, added: “Jacky was completely the driving force behind the idea. As soon as we heard about the book we couldn’t believe that it didn’t already exist. Right now we seem to be experiencing a redhead renaissance and Jacky has expertly tapped into the universal fascination with the topic.”
Colliss Harvey traces the history of red hair as well as attitudes towards it throughout the world, including in art and literature. Drysdale said: “The aim of the book is entirely to celebrate the often-denigrated gingers of the world and to examine why, as a society, we have such strong prejudices on the subject of redheads. Red hair has such an interesting and chequered history and has always been seen as ‘other’. It is the only hair colour to have been so heavily reviled and celebrated, and in today’s culture ‘gingerism’ is perhaps the last unacknowledged form of discrimination.”
Colliss Harvey is a writer and editor who studied English Literature at Cambridge and then Art History at the Courtauld Institute in London. She has worked in museum publishing for the past two decades but also moonlights as a redheaded life model and played a Parisian prostitute in the 2012 film “Bel Ami”.
Allen & Unwin will be sending redheaded celebrities and influencers copies of the book, as well as running redhead-targeted advertising. The author will be visiting book festivals as well as “Red Head Day UK” in the summer.