Kirty Topiwala, Hodder’s new head of non-fiction, has pre-empted a "revolutionary" book by Oxford psychologist Elaine Fox in a six-figure deal. Topiwala bought world rights on her second day in the job to Switchcraft in a deal with Patrick Walsh at PEW Literary.
The Bookseller understands five other publishers were bidding for the book and Topiwala first offered a pre-empt, which was declined by the author, on Monday, before going back to Walsh. Switchcraft is described as a revolutionary smart thinking book on building agility and resilience in the brain.
After 25 years of research, Fox has discovered what is common to people who feel successful and fulfilled: an agility in how they feel and act. The synopsis reads: "Switchcraft will explore the science of mental agility and the unexpected ways in which our experiences shape our lives and emotions. The book will also set out a practical framework for how we can all nurture switchcraft and live a more fulfilling life."
Fox came to prominence when she discovered that neural pathways can be reprogrammed in the brains of those suffering depression. She also authored a popular science book on pessimism and optimism, Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain. Fox now leads a neuroscientific research team at Oxford, and works with the UK government to co-ordinate its mental health divisions. She said: "Switchcraft will allow me to explore decades of work from science labs, and anecdotes from everyday life, that have profound implications for our mental health and success. I am thrilled to be working with Hodder to bring this exciting science to a wider audience."
Topiwala added: "This is a revolutionary and refreshing take on mental agility. I am delighted to be working with the brilliant Elaine Fox, who has unparalleled expertise in this area. The idea is so appealing and digestible, but Switchcraft is also grounded in decades of original research. This is exactly the kind of life-changing, intelligent non-fiction we want to publish on the Hodder list."