Sceptre has acquired a memoir exploring the origins of Britain’s Green Belt.
Associate publisher Drummond Moir bought UK and Commonwealth rights, including Canada, to Outskirts: Living Life on the Edge of the Green Belt by John Grindrod at auction from Nicola Barr at Greene & Heaton.
Outskirts will “chart the genesis” of the idea of the Green Belt, which “grew from romantic 19th-century notions of the countryside and our past”, as well as look at the pioneers behind organisations like the National Trust, and the Green Belt’s place in the landscape and psyche of post-war Britain.
Integrated throughout will be the story of what it was like to grow up on the edge of it, with each chapter combining Grindrod’s family’s story with a wider historical narrative.
Moir said: “John writes beautifully about our fascination with the world around us. Outskirts will give him the chance to explore the uncharted territory of the Green Belt and the many tensions that gave rise to it – between town and country, secrecy and openness, ancient and modern, authentic and artificial. It’s going to be a rich, timely, deeply personal and extremely powerful book, and I can’t wait to publish it.”
Grindrod said: “I couldn't be more thrilled that Outskirts has been acquired by Drummond Moir and Sceptre. There hasn't been a popular book written about the green belt, and it feels like the natural next step after Concretopia to tell how plans were made to protect the countryside, and the effect that's had on Britain. It's also a chance to tell the story of some extraordinary people, including my own funny, awkward family, uprooted from the inner city to the edge of the country in the ‘70s.”