Newly recruited Virago publishing director Anna Kelly has made her first imprint with Harvard student Becca Rothfeld’s debut essay collection All Things Are Too Small.
Virago acquired the book from Devon Mazzone, director at Metropolitan Books. Kelly, who was appointed publishing director at Virago in May, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights at auction. North American rights were originally acquired by Metropolitan books from Anna Sproul-Latimer at the Neon Literary Agency in a “major” pre-empt, Virago said. Publication is slated for 2023 in the US and UK.
The blurb reads: “All Things Are Too Small is a collection of essays in celebration of imbalance and excess in art and personal relationships – and arguing against the flattening and homogenisation of our culture. Engaging with writers from Sally Rooney to Simone Weil, and drawing on subjects from medieval mystics, BDSM and food, to Instagram stalking, mindfulness and serial killers, the essays explore the inverse relationship between material security and risk in art.
“Political and economic equality, the book argues, would leave open the field for inequality in art and culture but instead of that, political and social inequality reign, and our artistic culture has become uniform and bland.”
Kelly, who was at Fourth Estate for six years before Virago, said: “Becca Rothfeld’s mind is on fire with intelligence and reading even just this proposal was one of the most enriching intellectual experiences I have had for a long time. It boldly takes on so much that is important: how we value art, beauty and ideas, but also how we live and how we love. This book will inspire its readers, open up conversations and enliven our culture. I am extremely happy that it is my very first acquisition for Virago.”
Rothfeld is an essayist, critic, editor and PhD candidate in philosophy at Harvard. Her work brings spans both high art and contemporary culture and she has written for publications such as the New York Review of Books, the TLS, the New Yorker, the Atlantic, the New York Times Book Review and others. Her essays have been anthologised and nominated for various prizes and “have also provoked uproar on Twitter”, Virago said.