Oneworld snaps up Southon's 'dazzling' history of murder in Ancient Rome

Oneworld snaps up Southon's 'dazzling' history of murder in Ancient Rome

Oneworld has acquired the rights to bookseller Dr Emma Southon’s new book A Fatal Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum: Murder in Ancient Rome

In Ancient Rome all the best stories have one thing in common – murder. “Remus killed to found the city; Caesar assassinated to save the Republic. Caligula butchered in the theatre, Claudius poisoned at dinner and Galba beheaded in the forum,” said Oneworld. “Cutting into their unique culture of crime and punishment, Southon dissects how ordinary Romans viewed life, death, and what it means to be human.”

Editorial director Sam Carter acquired UK & Commonwealth rights (ex Canada) from Charlie Viney at The Viney Shaw Agency for publication in September 2020.

Southon, who has a PhD in ancient history and previously wrote Agrippina: Empress, Exile, Hustler, Whore (Unbound), works as a bookseller at Waterstones Belfast. She got the idea for the book from a history teacher friend and the title came from fellow author Sarah Perry. 

“The idea for the book came from a conversation with a history teacher friend about true crime as a lens to explore a culture, and I realised that murder in the Roman world was not only a trove of fantastic, human stories with lots of gore but also a way to think about so much more. Struggling to find a good title, I turned to fiction-writing friends for help.” said Southon. “A Fatal Thing Happened On The Way to the Forum was the genius brainchild of Sarah Perry, and simply too good to turn down. I couldn't be more thrilled to be working with Sam and Oneworld. I know from my time as a bookseller what fantastic and unique work they do and it feels like a natural home for AFTHOTWTTF.’

Carter added: “Emma is that ideal author who combines deep knowledge of her subject with dazzling style. We’re thrilled to be publishing her on our history list.”