John Murray has triumphed in a five-publisher auction to land the debut book by journalist Akshat Rathi, billed as a “Factfulness for climate change”.
Georgina Laycock secured world rights, excluding North America, for The Existential Economy from Jonathan Conway at Jonathan Conway Literary Agency. The book, which explores how human ingenuity is fighting civilisation’s greatest threat, will be published in January 2021.
The book is inspired by Rathi’s weekly newsletter ‘The Race to Zero Emissions’, where every story and idea is rigorously road-tested with expert subscribers including policymakers across the globe and employees of the world’s major energy companies, investment firms, environmental NGOs, and think tanks.
Its synopsis explains: “The Existential Economy tells the surprisingly positive stories of the extraordinary individuals and projects that are already successfully finding the solutions we need to slow down climate change. Combining economics, science, technology and history, The Existential Economy offers a compelling new view that celebrates both the human ability to transform adversity into advantage and the power of thinking globally.”
Rathi is a senior reporter for Quartz in London and has previously worked at the Economist and the Conversation. His writing has appeared in Nature, the Guardian and the Hindu.
He said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to work with Georgina and the John Murray team, who consistently publish books that change global conversations. It’s true that we have not acted with the urgency the climate crisis deserves, but it’s also true that we haven’t been sitting idle. I’m really excited to tell the stories of those who’ve shown what can be done despite the difficulties. My hope is to inspire readers to rise up to the challenge because we still have time.”
Laycock said: “This book is the ‘Factfulness for climate change’ I’ve been looking for. Akshat is a blazing non-fiction talent and his clever, deeply researched, uplifting book made me feel hopeful about the future for the first time in a long, long time. We can’t wait to get everyone reading it.”