Ebury is rush-publishing a new edition of designer Sharon Jones' Burn After Writing, which became a viral sensation through TikTok.
Marianne Tatepo, commissioning editor at Ebury, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights in a deal negotiated exclusively with Gary Shove at independent press Carpet Bombing Culture. Ebury gift imprint Pop Press will publish the book in trade paperback at £9.99 on 20th May. An edition for teenagers by Rhiannon Shove, will follow later in the year.
The book by Jones, a graphic designer based in the north-east of England, encourages the reader to fill in the blank pages under various prompts, before hiding or destroying it.
Its synopsis reads: “Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat, TikTok, VSCO, YouTube... The world has become one giant confessional. In a reversal of this trend, Burn After Writing encourages you to share nothing. With its incisive questions and thought experiments, this private journal challenges you to play a game of Truth and Dare with yourself. Push your limits; reflect on your past, present and future; and create a secret book that’s about you, and just for you. And when you’re finished, toss it, hide it or Burn After Writing.”
Tatepo said: “A committed journalling fan, I spotted Burn After Writing a few months ago and was immediately hooked by its brilliant concept: hundreds of questions inviting us to bare our soul as a self-discovery exercise, a 'Truth or Dare' of sorts. Once done, we’re encouraged to burn the book and start over.
“Originally published in 2015, Burn After Writing took on a life of its own on TikTok, where it has garnered over 80 million views via the #BurnAfterWriting hashtag. It is such a special, beloved book – some readers have even referred to it as their ‘therapy’. This phenomenon crosses borders and languages, too – translation rights have been sold the world over in about a dozen territories. In France, Burn After Writing sold out of its initial 120,000-copy print run within a month of publication in March 2021.”
The Times recently revealed how “Parisian intellectuals have been left perplexed by the success of a British book that has become a bestseller despite containing ‘nothing to read’."
The 2015 edition published by independent press Carpet Bombing Culture has sold 9,742 copies in paperback so far, according to Nielsen BookScan.