Professor Michael Banissy’s exploration into the science of touch has been snapped up by Orion Spring in a pre-empt.
Ru Merritt, commissioning editor of Orion Spring, secured world rights to When We Touch through a pre-emptive deal from Annabel Merullo at Peters Fraser + Dunlop. Orion Spring will publish in March 2023.
“As the foremost expert on the science behind touch, Michael’s research has always shown him that our most underestimated sense, in all its guises, is critical to our health and wellbeing,” the Orion impint said. “The global pandemic, however, forced many of us to stay indoors and significantly reduced the amount of touch we experienced on a daily basis; the resulting ‘touch hunger’ seriously damaged many peoples’ mental health. There’s therefore never been a more necessary time to delve into the hidden health benefits of this sense and learn the many ways in which we can harness its positive effects to drastically improve our lives.”
The book explores why touch is so important, as well as looking at the role it plays in our relationships, friendships, in the bedroom, workplace, in team activities such as sports, among other things. Banissy looks ahead to the future, exploring the many different ways we can understand touch as well as make it more accessible, especially in our increasingly online age.
“Touch has always been my favourite sense – a sense that brings comfort, a sense that shares emotion, a sense that heals,” Banissy said. “As a touch researcher, I’ve always thought I understood this. Yet, like many people, it is was not until touch was taken away that I truly felt the consequences of an absence of touch. The past couple of years have shown just how important touch is to our daily lives. This forgotten sense has returned to the public eye. We know that touch is something that affects us all – yet it is more complex than we might think."
Merritt said: “Michael’s When We Touch is one of those non-fiction books that you want to share with everyone you know. The wide-reaching effects of touch in our lives are utterly remarkable and I’m obsessed now with optimising my days by considering what sort of touch interactions I’m having. As a huge fan of popular science books, such as Why We Sleep and Breath, I know that Michael’s book will be a game-changing addition to this area of the market.”
Banissy is an award-winning professor in social neuroscience and a science communicator. He has produced over 95 publications and given several invited international keynote talks about his work in North America, Europe, and Asia. He has received prizes for his contributions to psychological science including a medal from the British Psychological Society for outstanding contributions to psychology.
One of his most recent projects was the Touch Test – a science and broadcast collaboration with the BBC and Wellcome Collection, exploring attitudes and experiences of touch via the world’s largest contemporary survey on the topic, public exhibitions, and a series of broadcast programmes focussed on the topic of touch that received worldwide attention. The project had approximately 40,000 people take part from 113 countries.