Gaia Vince, the first woman to win the Royal Society's Science Book of the Year prize, is moving to Penguin Press from Chatto.
A "frenzied" deal for British Commonwealth rights (excluding Canada) was struck at auction within 36 hours of the proposal's submission, in which Helen Conford at Penguin Press pre-empted British Vince's second book for a six-figure sum through Patrick Walsh at Conville & Walsh.
Vince was previously published by Chatto & Windus, an imprint of Random House.
Cultural Being: The Science of our History (or how Adam bit the snake) is pitched as "an original and scientific take on humanity’s evolution", looking back to 40,000 years ago when humankind invented culture to free itself from a "simply reactive relationship" with the physical matter of the Earth. Delving into both genres of popular science and history, it is said it will appeal to readers who loved Sapiens (Harvill Secker).
The book is receiving "a blizzard of translation rights’ interest", according to Conville & Walsh, with the first pre-empts already in. Vince's agents will be submitting in America later this week.
Vince's first book, Adventures in the Anthopocene, grew out of the 800 days in which Gaia spent travelling the world, latterly with baby on her back, as she visited 40 countries to explore "humanity’s planet-changing effect", for which she won the Royal Society's Science Book of the Year award in September 2015.
Vince, 42, a dual British and Australian national, is a chemist who studied at King’s College, London and then at the University of Bordeaux before undertaking a masters in engineering design. To fund her university studies, Vince freelanced as a journalist and at the Science Museum, building a tandem career which led her to leave research and take up writing full-time. She became news editor for Nature, the science magazine, and online editor for the New Scientist. She freelances across a spectrum from the Guardian to Scientific American and The Times.