Icon Books has acquired Man Up: Surviving Modern Masculinity by journalist Jack Urwin, a book that explores the reason masculinity is “currently in crisis”.
Tom Webber, commissioning editor at Icon Books, bought UK and Commonwealth rights from Juliet Pickering at Blake Friedmann to Man Up. Audible has also acquired unabridged audio rights from Pickering to publish simultaneously in June 2016.
According to Icon, Man Up will explore why masculinity is “currently in crisis, and what it means to be a man now”. A spokesperson added: “There’s no doubt about that crisis, either: suicide is currently the main cause of death among men between the ages of 18-49 in the UK, according to the Office for National Statistics.”
The "smart, funny and friendly" book is inspired in part by Urwin’s father’s premature death when Urwin was nine and his subsequent struggles with depression in his teens and early twenties. It will expand on Urwin’s personal experiences, and delve further into the historical causes of toxic male behaviour in both biological and sociological contexts.
In the book, Unwin "traces crises of masculinity from our grandfathers’ inability to verbalise the horrors of war and the decline of the working class in the latter part of the 20th century, to the mob mentality displayed on the football terraces, and the disturbing rise of mental health problems among men today. He also looks at the wider impact wrought by reinforcement of such rigid definitions of masculinity, harming not only heterosexual men but also the women and LGBT people around them."
Urwin’s published an article on Vice last year, A Stiff Upper Lip is Killing British Men, which went viral on publication and was praised by Irvine Welse as “fabulous” and by journalist and author Lauris Penny as “the brilliant, personal, not-actually-sexist writing by millennials about masculinity and politics that the world has been waiting for.”
Webber said: "This won’t be the only voice discussing men and masculinity in 2016 - there seem to be few more contemporary topics - but Jack’s is definitely unique. His writing is extremely resonant and clear, and as well as coming from his own traumatic experiences as a child and teenager, it shows a wisdom that belies his age. We think he’s going to be a star and that this book will only be the beginning of his rise to fame."
Urwin said: "This is a book from the heart and I’m really looking forward to adding what I can to the debate about masculinity. Icon have a great reputation for books about big ideas, and having already seen how receptive Tom and his colleagues are, I’m more than confident they’ll be the perfect publisher."
Icon will publish as a £12.99 trade paperback on 2nd June 2016.