Octopus imprint Cassell Illustrated has acquired in a "hotly contested" auction the first book from The Festival of the Spoken Nerd, a show that celebrates science, comedy and "unashamed geekiness" with live experiments and audience participation.
The book will be written by two thirds of The Festival of the Spoken Nerd team: "geek songstress" Helen Arney and "experiments guy" Steve Mould.
In 2016 the authors appeared three times on "QI", presented their own Radio 4 programme, Domestic Science (which has been commissioned to return in 2018), and toured their stand-up science show to over 15,000 people, while their combined YouTube channels received millions of views. Over the next year they will be touring the UK with their new show, You Can't Polish A Nerd, and performing at the Hammersmith Apollo with Professor Brian Cox.
Their book will publish in hardback this October (£16.99) and promises to take readers on "a rib-tickling, experiment-fuelled and irreverent adventure to explain the elements of science that other books ignore".
Romilly Morgan, commissioning editor, acquired world Rights for The Element in the Room: Science-y Stuff Staring You in the Face at auction from Danielle Zigner of LBA Books on behalf of Sophieclaire Armitage of Noel Gay.
Morgan said: “I’ve never met a pair of authors who have electrified me quite so much. Both with their high-octane scientific communication and writing skills and also because they decided to pass a live electric current through me at our sales conference.”
Arney added: “I’m stratospherically excited about turning Festival of the Spoken Nerd into a compressed wood pulp format, stacked full of hands-on experiments and unusual science hiding in our everyday surroundings. With the many-tentacled skills of Romilly and the Octopus team, I'm sure that young-at-heart geeks will enjoy The Element In The Room.”
Mould said: “Waffling about science is my absolute favourite thing to do. I usually do it live or in video format. But if I can write it down instead, and persuade someone to print it out thousands of times and distribute it, then I can sit at home and let the waffle take care of itself. Octopus is that someone.”