Hodder & Stoughton has struck a new two-book deal with TV star, travel writer and adventurer Levison Wood, publishing books about the decimation of the African elephant population and sharing his "explorer's mindset".
Wood, whose second book, Walking the Himalayas, was voted Adventure Travel Book of the Year at the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards, has presented documentaries including "Walking The Nile" and "Walking The Americas", and "From Russia to Iran: Crossing the Wild Frontier" and "Arabia with Levison Wood". The last is currently in the running for Best Documentary Series at the Broadcast Awards 2020.
The first in the new deal, publishing in early spring 2020, is The Last Giants–The Rise and Fall of the African Elephant, which explores the rapid decline of the species. Only 50 years ago, Africa was home to over 1.3 million elephants; by 1990 the number had halved.
"The Last Giants is an exciting new departure for me, combining academic research with what I’ve learned in my own time spent with elephants in Africa," said Wood. "I want my book to raise awareness and educate the reader about the shocking threat to this endangered species, and hopefully inspire those same readers to act now–to learn more and help save the species from permanent extinction."
It coincides with Wood’s new series "Walking with Elephants", airing on Channel 4 around the time of publication, in which Wood follows in the footsteps of the annual elephant migration across Botswana.
The second book Hodder has acquired publishes the following year in spring 2021. Provisionally entitled The Explorer’s Mindset, it will reveal the insights Wood has gained through his work as an explorer and as a frontline soldier with the Parachute Regiment and how those can be applied to everyday life.
"This is another exciting direction for me. I’m often asked why I do what I do and what I’ve learned. By sharing some of my 'life lessons' I want to inspire readers on their own journeys–whether through travel or in their daily life," said Wood.
Wood will be undertaking a UK-wide theatre tour to promote The Explorer’s Mindset throughout spring 2021.
Hodder Non-Fiction publisher Rupert Lancaster—who acquired world English language rights in both titles from Jo Cantello, Levison Wood’s agent at Wolfsong Media—said: "We’re thrilled to have signed up two new books from Lev–and two such exciting and unusual projects. We’re very proud to be Lev’s publisher and delighted to have one of our finest travel writers on the Hodder list."