HarperCollins has scooped the inside story of how the UK handled coronavirus by Sunday Times insight editor Jonathan Calvert and deputy editor George Arbuthnott.
HarperNonFiction editorial director Joel Simons acquired world all language rights to Shutdown: The Inside Story of Britain’s Battle with Coronavirus from Georgina Capel at Georgina Capel Associates. It will be published in March 2021, one year on from the nationwide lockdown.
In Shutdown, award-winning investigative journalists Calvert and Arbuthnott will expand on their initial Sunday Times Insight reports in a 12-month account of the decisions and machinations of the UK government throughout the pandemic.
The synopsis explains: “Publishing a year on from the UK’s lockdown on 23rd March, the book will shine a spotlight on the government’s failings throughout the pandemic – the decisions made, the instructions ignored, the meetings skipped – and examines how the UK managed to sleepwalk into the most crippling health crisis for over a century.”
Earlier this year, the Insight team published two hard-hitting stories on the UK's handling of the virus. The first, headlined “Coronavirus: 38 days when Britain sleepwalked into disaster”, became the newspaper’s most popular ever online article.
The authors said: “This is the most serious crisis to have faced Britain since the Second World War. Yet, contrary to what he would have us believe, our investigations show the Prime Minister’s actions up to this point have been far from Churchillian. His dithering and delay have almost certainly already cost thousands of British lives. Never has it been more important to hold our government to account. We are thrilled that a publisher with the pedigree of HarperCollins has asked us to write this book to do just that.”
Editorial director Simons said: "There will be so many incredible stories that come out of this time of crisis, but this, for me, will be one of the most crucial. How did we get here? What decisions were made? And what can we learn? Jonathan Calvert and George Arbuthnott answered some of those questions in their astonishing series of reports published in the past two months and Shutdown will be a continuation of the important issues they explored so brilliantly then. I can think of no better team of journalists in the country to tackle such an important story and can’t wait to work with them both in publishing this essential book.”