Pan Macmillan has won a four-way auction for Broken Heartlands: A Journey Through Labour’s Lost England by Financial Times political correspondent Sebastian Payne.
Assistant editor Matthew Cole bought world English language rights from David Evans at David Higham Associates. The book will be published in hardback, e-book and audio in autumn 2021.
Broken Heartlands is a political road trip through 10 constituencies that tells the story of Labour's “Red Wall”, which backed Brexit and dramatically turned Conservative for the first time in living memory at the 2019 election.
The blurb states: “Brexit and the unpopularity of opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn were the leading factors in Labour's defeat, but there is a more nuanced story explored in Broken Heartlands of how these northern communities have fared through generational shifts, struggling public services, deindustrialisation, and the changing nature of work. Payne explores the role these social and economic forces, decades in the making, have played in upheaving the political landscape. Broken Heartlands will also feature exclusive interviews with senior political figures from both parties.”
Payne is the FT's Whitehall correspondent and at the 2019 British Journalism Awards was awarded Political Journalist of the Year in recognition of his work on the FT’s series The Corbyn Revolution. He also presents the "Payne’s Politics" podcast, which was shortlisted for News Podcast of the Year at the 2020 National Press Awards.
He said: “The rise of the Tories in northern England is the most important political story of our times – one I have a huge personal connection to from growing up in Gateshead. I’m excited to return to my personal heartlands to write about why these often-forgotten places revolted against the political establishment and shredded their historic loyalties. Listening to these parts of England and what they need is vital for healing our bruised nation. I couldn’t be happier working with Matthew and Macmillan on a book that analyses the past two decades of Britain’s political landscape and, critically, where it is heading next.”
Cole said: “Sebastian is a brilliant writing talent and I couldn’t be more excited to bring him to Pan Macmillan. With a job covering Whitehall but originally from the north-east, he is the perfect person to write this book. Labour losing its ‘Red Wall’ seats in the 2019 election was one of the most shocking political events in recent memory and Sebastian’s book will be key to understanding why it happened and answering whether Labour can win them back. As political discourse has become increasingly fractious over recent years we need books such as Broken Heartlands to help bridge the divide that has opened up and go beyond the metropolitan bubble.”
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