Picador bags Laing's essay collection on importance of art

Picador bags Laing's essay collection on importance of art

Picador has bagged a new collection of essays by prize-winning writer and critic Olivia Laing about the importance of art.

Publisher Paul Baggaley and editor Kishani Widyaratna acquired UK and Commonwealth rights for Funny Weather: Art in an Emergency from Rebecca Carter at Janklow & Nesbit. The book will be published in spring 2020.

The book sees Laing bring together a career’s worth of writing about why art matters. The synopsis explains: "Funny Weather allows us to trace the development of her passions, from the artists and writers who inspire her to the deeply engaged column ‘Funny Weather’ that she writes for Frieze, where she grapples with the political changes of the last three years. In a frightening political moment, in which the humanities are being dangerously undervalued, we’re often told that art can’t really change anything. Laing argues that it can. It changes how we see the world. It gives us X-ray vision. It makes plain inequalities, and it suggests fertile new ways of living.”

Laing is the writer of three non-fiction books including 2015 work The Lonely City (Canongate), which won her the Eccles British Library Writer’s Award. Last year she published her first novel, Crudo (Picador).

She said: “I feel very grateful to Picador, who react with enthusiasm to every unexpected book I propose. This one matters to me deeply. It’s about the artists and writers I love, from David Bowie and Freddie Mercury to Agnes Martin and Patricia Highsmith. It’s also about the role of art in the world, especially as a force for resistance and repair.”

Baggaley added: “It has been a pleasure working with Olivia Laing on the publication of Crudo and watching it reach a wide readership with lots more still to come. We are very excited that we will publish a wonderful new book, Funny Weather, which will delight Olivia’s existing fans and be a perfect introduction to new readers. No one writes quite like Olivia and this collection makes a brilliant and inspiring case for why art matters more than ever in the turbulent political weather of the 21st century.”