Head of Zeus has bagged a “blisteringly urgent” book by Glenn Patterson about Northern Ireland in the shadow of Brexit and Lyra McKee’s murder.
Neil Belton, publishing director for non-fiction, acquired world all language rights from Antony Harwood at the Antony Harwood Ltd agency. Backstop Country: The Dark Side of Brexit will be published on 31st October in flapped trade paperback and e-book.
The publisher billed it as “the definitive book about Northern Ireland, its history and future”. Its synopsis explains: “Backstop Country is a book about the terrible price waiting to be paid if blustering politicians re-impose a hard border with the Republic. It is a witty anatomy of the strange religious and political world of the Democratic Unionist Party, which straddles the 17th and 21st centuries, and of the ever-reviving corpse of the IRA, which sucks in desperate young men and puts guns in their hands. It is a portrait of a country that has not had a functioning government for two and a half years, where literary and musical life flourishes and gay voices speak confidently but where women are criminalised for seeking an abortion, and former terrorists run criminal gangs and get away with murder.”
The book comes as a 31st October Brexit deadline looms and following the death of journalist McKee, who was shot dead during a Londonderry riot in April.
Patterson, a novelist and playwright, said: “One way or another 31st October promises to be a hugely significant date for these islands, this continent and not least for the northeast corner of Ireland, where all relationships currently intersect, and may very soon divide.”
Belton added: “'Like Fintan O'Toole's Heroic Failure (Apollo), Backstop Country is an essential book for our time. Words have unusually grave consequences in Northern Ireland, and the demagogic language we've heard about the Irish border deserves to be tested against the realities of life in that beautiful part of the world. Glenn Patterson has borne witness in his fiction for many years to the madness of sectarian war while keeping his humane, tolerant sanity intact. His new non-fiction book is an important event.”