Serpent’s Tail is to publish Things That Divide Us, an exploration of the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox and the rise of nationalism and the far-right, by Kester Aspden.
Hannah Westland, Serpent’s Tail publisher, acquired UK Commonwealth (excluding Canada) rights from Matthew Hamilton at Aitken Alexander before going on maternity leave.
Things That Divide Us is a literary investigation into the murder of West Yorkshire MP Jo Cox and an exploration of the growth of extreme nationalism in post-Brexit Britain.
The book will confront the "dark and hateful" side of contemporary Britain using a blend of reportage, social history and memoir. Aspden grew up in Yorkshire and the book will centre on the police investigation of Cox’s murder and the trial of her killer, but ranges more widely to explore the rise of nationalism and far-right politics in Britain in the lead up to and aftermath of Brexit.
Rebecca Gray, acting Serpent’s Tail publisher, said: "When Hannah bought this book we were united behind its author’s premise – to shine a light on the rise of the extreme right to better understand who we are throughout this country. It’ll be an important addition to the nationwide conversation that is only just beginning. I can’t think of a writer better placed to take on this complex subject."
Aspden added: "This is a painful subject and in order to understand what happened in Birstall in June 2016 I have to face up to some of the darker parts of my own past. The standard left and right approaches to these questions seem to be of less use in these unsettling times. So it is great to be reunited with my former agent Hannah Westland. I have always looked to Serpent's Tail for exciting, challenging writing and it is a honour to join a list including writers I admire like David Peace, Anthony Cartwright and Cathi Unsworth."
Aspden was born in 1968 in Toronto, Canada, and was raised in Yorkshire. His book The Hounding of David Oluwale (Jonathan Cape, 2007) won the Crime Writers’ Association Award for Non-Fiction and was adapted for the stage.