William Collins has acquired the "free-wheeling history of the women who made modern Britain" by Channel 4 News anchor Cathy Newman after a "hotly contested" auction.
William Collins bought world English language rights to the title from Antony Topping at Greene and Heaton.
The book, as yet untitled, will look at the "dramatic transformations" that have occurred in women’s lives in the last 100 years, chronicling successive generations of change-making women from before the rise of the suffragette movement to the Thatcher era and the modern day.
The book will tell the stories both of the women "history forgot" – who defied the odds to forge extraordinary careers in fields such as education, engineering and science – and the household names who transformed Britain. Written with "warmth and humour", and drawing upon memoirs, diaries, letters, Mass-Observation reports, novels and other secondary sources, the book will celebrate these pioneering women who achieved so much in their working lives and by doing so helped to build the modern world.
Arabella Pike, publishing director, William Collins said: "Cathy Newman is writing a new type of feminist history. As the first female co-presenter of Channel 4 news, she intends to tell the story of the women who paved her way. With a nod to the centenary of the Representation of the People Act 1918, she has found a way to write a new history of the 20th century, bringing to the fore many women whose achievements have been neglected."
Newman said: "I’ve always been amazed how many histories of modern Britain there are – and how often women are consigned to the footnotes. There are plenty of men huddled over maps in bunkers, but so many women changed the course of history, and yet their contribution has too often been forgotten. I’m delighted to try to rewrite history, and I’m thrilled William Collins is going to ensure the women who made Britain finally get the recognition they deserve."
William Collins will publish in 2018.
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