'Brilliant and original' history of London to William Collins

'Brilliant and original' history of London to William Collins

William Collins has acquired a “brilliant and original” new history of London by writer and economist Niall Kishtainy.

The Infinite City uses the stories of London’s utopians in a book that is an “unique history of ideas and an alternative history of our capital”, the publisher said.

“With a dazzling array of characters including H G Wells, Karl Marx, The Chartists, The Diggers and many more, Kishtainy will show how these utopian visions rose and fell, and what we can learn from them today.”

Tom Killingbeck, commissioning editor at William Collins, bought UK and Commonwealth rights (excluding Canada) from Chris Wellbelove at Aitken Alexander Associates for an undisclosed sum.

Kishtainy said: “I’ve long been fascinated by quirky, unorthodox kinds of social thought and by the history of London, a city of cities that over the centuries has been a grand theatre of money and power as well as of social dreaming and radical action. The Infinite City brings these threads together to celebrate the city and its utopian dreamers. My hope is to capture something of the zest and creativity of London’s visionaries and to show how today they can be a source of inspiration for our collective imagination.”

Killingbeck added: “I was immediately seduced by the soaring ambition and radical spirit of Niall’s proposal – he has a novelist’s eye for character and detail, and weaves together stories from a vast swathe of history with incredible focus and poise. As the publisher of Richard Holmes, this book seems a natural fit for William Collins, and I can see The Infinite City appealing to readers of everyone from Sarah Bakewell to Iain Sinclair.”

Publication is slated for spring 2021.