Canongate editorial director Simon Thorogood has bought world rights in the latest book from Melanie Challenger, How to be Animal, from Jessica Woollard at David Higham.
Humans are the most inquisitive, emotional, imaginative, aggressive and baffling animals on the planet, but how well do we really know ourselves, goes the pitch. How to Be Animal is promised to "rewrite the remarkable human story and argue that at the heart of our psychology is a profound struggle with being animal. As well as piecing together the mystery of how this psychology evolved, the book examines the wide-reaching ways in which it affects our lives, from our politics to the ways we distance ourselves from other species."
Drawing on new evidence from a wide range of disciplines, Challenger is said to propose that being an animal is a process, beautiful and unpredictable and that we have a chance to tell ourselves a new story, to realise that if we matter, so does everything else.
Thorogood described the book as "a profound work of popular science and moral philosophy that brilliantly articulates a new history of humanity, and grapples with some of the most resonant issues of our contemporary world," while agent Woollard described the subject matter of the book as "probably the most pressing issue of our time as we embrace AI and segue into the Anthropocene."
Meanwhile Challenger contributed: "Canongate have a reputation for championing both intellectual freedom and scholarly adventure, so I am delighted to have a found a home with them."
Canongate has sold rights to Paul Slovak at Penguin in the US and Nick Garrison at Allen Lane in Canada.
Challenger is also the author of On Extinction: How we Became Estranged from Nature (Granta).