Hodder & Stoughton is publishing Nala’s World: One Man, His Rescue Cat and a Bike Ride Around the Globe.
It is being written by Dean Nicholson with Garry Jenkins, the author with James Bowen of A Street Cat Named Bob (2012, Hodder).
Rowena Webb, non-fiction publisher at Hodder & Stoughton, bought world English rights through Lesley Thorne at Aitken Alexander Associates in Nala’s World by Nicholson with Jenkins, and will publish alongside Elizabeth Kulhanek at Grand Central in the US in September 2020. Six other translation rights deals in the book have been done.
Nicholson, 30, from Scotland, set off cycling around the world in September 2018 with the aim of "learning as much he could about the state of our troubled planet", according to Hodder. But what he hadn't bargained on were the lessons he’d learn from an unlikely passenger who was to accompany him: an abandoned kitten he encountered three months into his journey, while in the mountains between Bosnia and Montenegro, who seemed determined to follow him.
The kitten was nursed back to health with the help of local vets and named Nala after the lioness in the Lion King, becoming inseparable from Nicholson. She also became something of a social media star. The video of their first meeting "went viral" on animal news website The Dodo – racking up views from 128 million people, while over 800,000 followers were subsequently attracted to Nicholson’s Instagram and YouTube updates on his progress around the globe with Nala (@1bike1world).
The book will tell their story of how they met, forged a friendship and spent a year on the road together, visiting eight countries and covering thousands of miles – "learning lessons about life, love and our planet along the way". With Nala at front of the bike in a special cat basket, according Hodder they’ve "encountered obstacles from bad weather to crazy bureaucracy, from flat tyres to assorted illnesses and injuries. But they've also struck up memorable friendships and experienced the incredible kindness of strangers, performing good deeds themselves as well, rescuing dogs, cleaning up beaches and spending time with refugees. Above all, they’ve transformed each other’s lives, and enjoy whatever the new day brings."
Nicholson said: "I’m thrilled to be able to tell our story in full in a book and explain how this little cat has completely changed my life. Before I started on this epic bike journey I’d been in danger of going down the wrong path in life. Since I hooked up with Nala, she has given me a purpose to life and reason to grow up. I’m still someone who wants to experience life to the full, but I’m a 100% better person. I’m achieving something and hopefully making a difference too. I’m also learning a lot of important lessons, not just about our planet and the people who live on it, but about myself."
Webb, who also published Bowen's sequel The Little Book of Bob in 2018, said: "My heart melted when I first saw Dean rescuing the scrap of a cat Nala on The Dodo. The incredible success of A Street Cat Named Bob is a hard act to follow, but I see the same magic in Dean and Nala – their two lives transformed as they travel around the world together sharing a bike and now their story. It’s great to have the Bob team back together and we’re all thrilled to be publishing this book at Hodder."
Nala's World will publish as a hardback and e-book in the UK and the US on 29th September.