Canongate has acquired Billy No-Mates: How I Realised Men Have a Friendship Problem, a "charmingly candid" personal exploration of male loneliness, by Max Dickins.
Hannah Knowles, editorial director, acquired world all language rights in the non-fiction book from Laura McNeill of Gleam Futures. Billy No-Mates will be published on 7th July 2022.
The idea for the book was born when the author started to think about proposing to his girlfriend, and realised there was no one he could call on to be his best man.
"This realisation sent him down a rabbit hole, examining the friendships he had had over the years, and where they had foundered," the synopsis reads. "Countless studies have affirmed that men are, on average, more isolated and lonelier than women. Dickins’ own friendship crisis led him to this disarmingly honest and witty interrogation of traditional masculinity, in which he intelligently explores the connection between male loneliness and the social phenomenon of toxic masculinity.
"For most of his life, Dickins had thought toxic masculinity applied to other men—the sociopaths and monsters like Harvey Weinstein—not him, with his progressive values, plunging v-necks and homemade pasta. But some considerable reflection and his fiancé forced him to face some harsh truths. The result is an insightful and humorous look at how he, and men like him, have ended up Billy No-Mates."
Dickins is an author, a playwright, and a recovering stand-up comedian. He has had his own Sony Award-nominated show on Absolute Radio. On TV he has appeared on Michael McIntyre’s "Big Show".
He said: "This book begins with a question I discovered many men ask themselves: Where have all my friends gone? My search for answers takes me to the doors of world leading experts. Along the way, I take a defibrillator to my social life. Ultimately, I learn that losing your mates as you get older is not inevitable; but if I wanted a Best Man, then I needed to be a better man."
Knowles commented: "Billy No Mates provides a refreshing look at the very real, and very serious, issue of male loneliness. Max is charmingly candid about his own life in pursuit of understanding where male friendships are lacking, which makes this look at one of the rare areas men do not fare better in life than women an illuminating and thought-provoking read."