Hutchinson Heinemann has landed a new narrative history of the 14th century from young historian Helen Carr in a four-way auction.
Commissioning editor Anna Argenio acquired UK and Commonwealth rights to This England from Rachel Mills at Rachel Mills Literary. The recently announced Hutchinson Heinemann imprint will publish in spring 2024 as a flagship title on the list.
The publisher said: "This England will tell the story of the 14th century – a pivotal period in English history and a clear mirror to our own times. Beginning with the birth of Edward III in 1312 and ending with the death of Richard II in 1399, the book will largely follow the experiences of the last Plantagenets as well as uncovering lesser-known voices and stories. This will be a thrilling narrative account of a century of revolution – social, political and cultural – which continues to shape our understanding of English national identity and history."
Carr specialises in the 14th century. Her first book, The Red Prince (Oneworld), was published in April 2021 to widespread praise and was included in the Times and Sunday Times best books of 2021. Her second book, What is History, Now? (Orion), a collection of essays from contemporary history writers co-edited with Suzannah Lipscomb, will be published in autumn 2021. She began her career in media working on "In Our Time" with Melvyn Bragg, before moving into television as a history documentary producer. She also runs a successful podcast, "Hidden Histories".
She said: "The 14th century, for me, has felt like a century of great change and development in English history. The undulating events that took place and the people that navigated them have fascinated me for years. The 14th century has been described as “calamitous” with its war, famine and public health crisis. In some ways, it even mirrors our current times. However, this book will demonstrate that the 14th century was also a century of great revolution. That out of a period of darkness came a period of great light. That the 14th century shaped our understanding of patriotism, Englishness and national identity. Anna and the team at Hutchinson Heinemann instantly understood my vision for this book and I am honoured to become a part of the Penguin Random House family."
Argenio added: "To my mind, the 14th century is one of the most fascinating periods of history and in This England, Helen Carr is approaching it with both rigour and verve. To say that Helen is a brilliant storyteller is an understatement: she manages to bring to life characters and times so seemingly distant with a vividness and accessibility that makes her work as gripping as it is informative. Her joy and passion is truly infectious, and I can’t wait for readers to discover the delights of history through her writing."
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