Penguin Press has acquired Emma Dabiri’s debut A History Of Hair, a book promising to be "an inspiring personal and critical account of the history of Afro hair".
Commissioning editor Cecilia Stein bought world rights from Emma Paterson at Rogers, Coleridge & White.
The book will include "bold imagery" with critical essays on different hairstyles, their provenance and associated themes to explore the ways in which black hair has been policed, interpreted, appropriated and celebrated.
Debate over cultural appropriation of black hair styles increased in 2016 after a video emerged in which a black San Francisco State University student confronted a white student over his dreadlocks.
Dabiri said: "I am over the moon to be working with Penguin, and I couldn't want for a better home for my first book than with Allen Lane. It is hugely exciting to see the social, historical and cultural significance of Black hair being recognised, and I welcome this opportunity to employ hair as a lens through which to examine some of the challenging questions of race and identity which continue to haunt us into the 21st century."
Stein added: "Emma is perfectly placed to tackle this fascinating subject from a number of perspectives, with great flair and authority."
A History of Hair will publish under Allen Lane in 2018.