Fig Tree has bagged the “witty, entertaining and at times delightfully macabre” Spare Parts: A Surprising History of Transplants by debut author Paul Craddock.
Publishing director Helen Garnons-Williams acquired world rights from Jenny Hewson at Lutyens & Rubinstein, for publication on 26th August 2021.
The synopsis states: “We think of transplant surgery as one of the medical wonders of the modern world. But transplants are as ancient as the pyramids, with a history more surprising than we might expect. In Spare Parts, Paul Craddock takes readers on a journey from 16th-century skin grafting to contemporary stem cell transplants, uncovering stories of operations performed by unexpected people in unexpected places. Bringing together philosophy, science and cultural history, Spare Parts explores how transplant surgery has always tested the boundaries between human, animal and machine, and continues to do so today.
Craddock is an honorary senior research associate of both the Division of Surgery at UCL and the Science Museum, London. He is a historian of medicine, his main area of expertise being the cultural history of transplant surgery. His PhD explored how transplants have for centuries invited reflection on human identity, a subject he has also lectured on internationally. Spare Parts, which has already won a special commendation from the Royal Society of Literature, is his first book.
He said: “I’m excited to have the opportunity to put the scrubbed-up, hospital-bound affair of modern transplantation into a far wider cultural context, from its rustic Renaissance beginnings as the ‘agriculture of the body’, to the futuristic printing of body parts. It was a thrill to watch this history stretch farther and farther into the past, beyond the time when transplants first came to be about saving human lives. Before that, bodily transactions were purely financial transactions, and even earlier it was thought that madness could be cured by a drop of lamb’s blood. It’s been tremendous working with Fig Tree, who have given me the freedom and support to set out this tale.”
Garnons-Williams added: “We are thrilled to be publishing Paul’s wide-ranging, thought-provoking and hugely enjoyable Spare Parts. He is a wonderful storyteller who takes readers on a fascinating journey through time and across continents, introducing a remarkable cast of characters, including mavericks, charlatans, pioneers and the many unsung heroes and heroines whose ideas and achievements continue to shape transplant surgery today.”