Bloomsbury crime imprint Raven Books has signed its first non-fiction title - an exploration of death through the eyes of the professionals who deal with it every day.
Detectives, morticians, crime scene cleaners, embalmers and executioners are all part of a "highly unusual" and very select group of people who deal with death and the dying every day and the book Fade to Black by journalist Hayley Campbell will explore what drew them to these professions and how has it changed them. Campbell will also investigate her own fascination and fear of death through her encounters with a series of extraordinary people.
Editorial director Alison Hennessey acquired the UK and Commonwealth rights excluding Canada to the title at auction from Jon Elek at United Agents.
Hennessey said she knew the first piece on non-fiction for Raven Books had to be "something very special" and that Fade to Black is "exactly that".
"Engaging, original and utterly captivating, Hayley’s book introduces us to people who are confronted with death every day, in roles many of us will never have even heard of before", said Hennessey. "With death increasingly hidden away in our modern Western culture, Fade to Black couldn’t be timelier, and I’m delighted to be publishing it – and her – at Bloomsbury."
Campbell added: “In my career so far I’ve met so many people who do these jobs that most of us could not face, who then go uncelebrated and ignored because we don’t like to think about what it is they do. The monster is always scarier when you can’t see it, and these people see it every day. I can’t wait to find out what that’s like.”
Campbell is a long-form journalist for several publications including the Guardian, Wired and BuzzFeed. Her first book, The Art of Neil Gaiman (Ilex Press), was published in 2014.
The title will be published in early 2020.