Bloomsbury is to publish an “urgent” and “unapologetically radical” book on sexual consent, rape culture and the power of desire by writer and journalist Laurie Penny.
Consent will be based on the feminist activist’s ‘Longreads’ series, which was recently nominated for a National Magazine Award (an Ellie).
Senior commissioning editor Alexa von Hirschberg bought world rights from Veronique Baxter at David Higham Associates and will be released in 2019. The book will be published in the US by Callie Garnett at Bloomsbury.
Von Hirschberg said: “The need for nuanced, thoughtful debate about consent and desire has never been more crucial and Penny is the perfect writer to lead the charge."
She described the book as “urgent, accessible, hopeful and unapologetically radical” and said that Penny “has a gift for digesting complex theory and producing smart, articulate and insightful prose”.
“More lyrical and personal than her explosive essay collections, Consent will be an essential book for our times,” said Von Hirschberg.
Garnett described the author as “dynamite, a fierce mind-opener and a total slayer of a wordsmith”.
“A true culture of consent – where female desire, agency, and pleasure actually matter – this is the radical possibility that Penny asks us to imagine,” Garnett said. “And she can get us there because she’s so imaginative herself, not just in her devastating gift for rhetoric, but in her search for society’s unspeakable. She is our crusader against the structures of silence.”
Penny’s last book, Bitch Doctrine (Bloomsbury), was billed as a “moderately window-smashing collection of queer and feminist essays” and she has also been published by St Martin's Press and indie Pluto Press, among others. Penny is based in London and has written for publications such as the Guardian and the New Statesman. In 2016 she was a judge for The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction.