Fourth Estate won a “heated” five-publisher auction for a book by a university lecturer about "the marks we are making on the planet".
Nicholas Pearson, publishing director at Fourth Estate, bought UK and Commonwealth rights to the non-fiction proposal of Footprints: In Search of Future Fossils by David Farrier from Carrie Plitt at Felicity Bryan Associates. The acquisition included a “heated auction” with four other publishers.
A spokesperson for the publisher said: “A dazzling and lyrical meditation on the marks we are making on the planet, this is a personal journey that ranges from the plastics washed up on the shore of the North Sea, to a deep pit of nuclear waste in Finland, to 3D-printed coral in the Great Barrier Reef.”
The book combines “stories from the changing world around us” spanning the writing of Virginia Woolf and Derek Walcott, to bronze age rock carvings and the paintings of Paul Klee.
Farrier is a senior lecturer in English Literature at the University of Edinburgh and held a Leverhulme Fellowship at the University of New South Wales. His writing has appeared in Aeon Magazine and the Atlantic.
He said: “I am pleased beyond words that Fourth Estate have picked up Footprints. How we are changing our world in ways that will linger far into the future is the most vital and fascinating story there is. I’m delighted to work with Nicholas Pearson and the brilliant team at Fourth Estate to tell that story.”
Pearson said: “At this critical moment in the Anthropocene, Footprints is a book which expands the way we imagine ourselves and the choices we make for our planet. I am thrilled to be publishing this important book here at Fourth Estate.”