Century has revealed the identity of the anonymous author of Anti-Social, the memoirs of an anti-social behaviour officer, following a 14-way auction for the début last year.
Already the widely-tipped manuscript – which was the result of a fierce auction last year – has earned plaudits from comedian Kathy Burke, who said: "Think Adam Kay’s This is Going to Hurt but with more dead bodies (and not just human ones) and an abundance of cat s**t." When The Bookseller revealed the 14-way bidding war last October, the author’s identity was under wraps because he was still employed as an anti-social behaviour officer.
Century has now revealed the author to be ex-council worker and comedian Nick Pettigrew. He spent more than a decade as an anti-social behaviour officer and also has a background in comedy. Pettigrew was a standup comedian for several years, taking two successful shows to the Edinburgh Festival. His comedy writing has been published by Shortlist and the Telegraph. He was a regular writer for the Daily Mash for over eight years and has co-written several comedy books.
Pettigrew said: "After more than a decade spent helping people suffering from anti-social behaviour, it felt like the right time to write this book. Right because the problems people face are getting worse, because the resources to help are getting more scarce and because I’d reached my own personal crisis point. If the book helps change the perception of why people end up becoming a nuisance to society, or the perception of how society deals with them, I’d feel like I’ve made some small difference. And to do so in a way that proves there is humour in even the darkest of circumstances. I think the stories of the people I’ve tried to help deserve to be read."
Zennor Compton, senior editor at Century, acquired world rights, all languages from Max Edwards of Aevitas Creative Management UK, then of Apple Tree Literary, in a major 14-publisher auction. Film and TV rights are being handled by Yasmin McDonald at United Agents of behalf of Edwards. Anti-Social will be published on 23rd July 2020 in hardback and e-book, with a simultaneous audiobook publication from Penguin Random House Audio.
Compton said: "I couldn’t be more excited to publish Nick Pettigrew’s memoir. Nick’s work gave him first-hand insight on the vicious cycles of poverty, crime, mental health, homelessness, addiction and more. Anti-Social shows how society’s most vulnerable people are so often let down by public institutions at breaking point; it also powerfully recounts the author’s own struggles with his mental health. Nick’s integrity and empathy for the people he works with mean that the book is pitch perfect – never worthy, preachy or patronising. Anti-Social is possibly the funniest book I’ve read but it’s also heartbreakingly sad in places and understandably angry in others. I can’t wait to get it into readers’ hands."