Picador has acquired a "deeply personal narrative" by Observer writer and former Faber & Faber editor-in-chief, Robert McCrum.
Sophie Jonathan, editor at Picador, bought UK and Commonwealth rights to Every Third Thought: Observations on the Inevitable End-Game from Jonathan Lloyd at Curtis Brown.
Every Third Thought will be a “deeply personal narrative” about living with an “acute” and “ever-present” awareness of death. Since his near-fatal stroke in 1995 (the subject of his memoir, Mr Year Off), McCrum has been described as “a lightning rod for the world of the unwell” as he is now constantly approached by friends for advice about their own illnesses and crises.
The book will span a year and move towards that “inevitable destination” as McCrum explores the ageing process, slowness, what it is to be a patient and the ways in which we can find comfort: "in faith, in literature, in a quiet reckoning with our demons."
The book will include personal interviews with writers, doctors and psychologists. According to Picador, it is “for all those who have begun to realise, reluctantly, that they are not immortal.”
Jonathan said: “Robert’s writing is shot through with such charm and his proposal for Every Third Thought is thoughtful and funny, fascinating and uplifting in equal measure. Every Third Thought promises to combine Robert’s journalistic talents with what is ultimately a personal story about facing a universal truth, and yet he never steps over the line dividing us, the readers, from the experts. I think that’s why I love Robert’s proposal so much – he is always with us, one of us, a patient rather than a practitioner, and that makes this a book of unique and extraordinary strength. I couldn’t be more delighted to be publishing it at Picador.”
McCrum was editor in chief at Faber & Faber for nearly 20 years until his stroke in 1995. He is the author of seven novels and three books of non-fiction. He was the literary editor of the Observer until 2008 and is now Observer associate editor.
Picador will publish Every Third Thought in 2017.