Bodley Head triumphs in three-way auction for McDowall's debut

Bodley Head triumphs in three-way auction for McDowall's debut

Bodley Head has won a three-publisher auction for journalist and podcaster Julie McDowall's debut about the every-day impact of nuclear war in mid 20th century Britain.

Bodley Head’s publishing director Stuart Williams has acquired UK and Commonwealth rights in Attack Warning Red, a history of the nuclear home front, from Will Francis at Janklow & Nesbit UK, following a three-way auction. Publication is scheduled for early 2021.

It will be the first book to focus on the domestic and civilian fall-out from nuclear war and how it affected ordinary people in Britain, from the late 1940s to the end of the Cold War, the publisher said.

Williams said: “Julie McDowall is a captivating, irreverent, ever-curious guide in this extraordinary landscape. Attack Warning Red might be a gripping history of something that ultimately didn’t happen but is no less viscerally real for that, or revealing of who we are.”

McDowall said: "I'm delighted to be working with Bodley Head on this book which will bring forth all the strange charm, quiet horror, and eerie eccentricity of the way the British prepared for nuclear war."

A journalist who writes about nuclear history for newspapers such as the Times and the Guardian, McDowall also reviews and hosts her own podcast on the preparations for nuclear conflict, 'The Atomic Hobo'.