Jonathan Cape has bought two non-fiction books by The Argonauts author Maggie Nelson as part of "a major deal".
Michal Shavit, publishing director at Cape, has acquired two new books by the American writer, The Myth of Freedom and a collection of essays about art. UK and Commonwealth rights were acquired from Claire Conrad on behalf of P J Mark at Janklow & Nesbit in New York, in what Cape described as "a major deal" though declined to give financial details. Rights have also sold in the US to Graywolf Press and in Canada to McClelland & Stewart.
The Myth of Freedom, scheduled for autumn 2021, is described by Cape as "a heady, iconoclastic work of criticism that examines the concept of freedom through the lenses of art, climate, drugs, and sex". The publisher said: "Rather than focus on moments of liberation, the book explores how we balance our need to care for and protect others with our need for individual space to move, think, organise, express and imagine. Nelson is one of the most esteemed writers of our day, and her extraordinary mind is in full bloom in this new book. Where The Myth of Freedom is a panoptic survey of a huge range of art and ideas, the second book under contract, an untitled book of essays, is a series of deep dives into the work of individual artists."
Shavit said: "Maggie Nelson is one of the most exciting and original thinkers and writers at work today, and this is one of those books that only comes along once a decade or so. The Myth of Freedom is a book that engages with the most complex, urgent, and fascinating issues of our time, from the personal to the civic. It is also a hugely important thinking book that will open up new ways of understanding the world and will be read for many years to come.
"We’re thrilled to have acquired two books that will make a profound impact on the world of ideas and the world of letters."
Nelson is the award-winning author of The Argonauts (2015, Melville House), and recipient of the MacArthur Genius Prize. Bluets and The Red Parts, were published by Cape in 2017. She lives in Los Angeles and teaches in the University of Southern California.