Jonathan Cape will publish “a far-reaching and wonderfully entertaining investigation” into animal rights by award-winning Financial Times journalist Henry Mance following a six-way auction.
Bea Hemming, acting publishing director of Jonathan Cape, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Carrie Plitt at the Felicity Bryan Agency to Mance's first book, In the Company of Animals, due for publication in 2021.
North American rights were sold to Viking US while German rights were pre-empted by Kein & Aber.
The book follows Mance’s personal quest to explore and rethink our relationship with animals. “Animal rights issues are entering the mainstream and even dedicated omnivores are cutting their meat intake, but we remain more confused and hypocritical than ever in our attitudes to our fellow species,” Cape said. “Should we be vegetarians or vegans, and what might a future without meat look like? Should we visit zoos or keep pets? Which wild species should we save, and which might we one day genetically engineer?”
It promises to be a “far-reaching and wonderfully entertaining investigation in which Mance tackles these ethical and environmental dilemmas head on”. During the investigation, Mance works in an abattoir and on a pig farm, and talks to the chefs, farmers, activists, philosophers, politicians and scientists. “Thoughtful, provocative and witty, this is a story of discovery and hope – and of a future that may just become reality,” the publisher said.
Mance, who is the FT's chief features writer, described the book as his "search for a better future". He said: “I have wanted to write this book for years, and I’m so excited to be working on it with Jonathan Cape and Bea Hemming. We all love animals, but we aren’t sure how to live alongside them. With pampered pets, industrial farms and widespread extinctions, our relationship with other species is reaching a turning point. This is my search for a better future.”
Hemming said: “Henry Mance is one of the most stylish, witty and thoughtful journalists around, and I’m over the moon to be publishing his book at Cape. I know how passionate and committed Henry is to this investigation: there aren’t many writers who would volunteer to go and work in abattoir to better understand meat production, let alone manage to make the experience so brilliantly entertaining and thought-provoking on the page. This is the book that many of us have been longing to read, whether we are guilty meat-eaters, pet owners or conflicted vegetarians. The time seems ripe for a book that faces up to all those difficult questions about how humans treat animals, and I can’t wait to share this book with the world.”
Mance is an award-winning journalist who also writes a weekly satirical column at the FT along with his features role. He was named interviewer of the year at the 2017 British Press Awards, and was shortlisted for fresh new voice of the year at the 2018 Comment Awards.
His work has also appeared in GQ, Tatler and the Guardian, and he has frequently appeared as a commentator on BBC radio and TV news programmes.