Viking has acquired rights to a short book on silence by Norwegian adventurer Erling Kagge in a "major" pre-emptive deal.
Viking acquired UK and Commonwealth rights to Kagge's Silence… In the Age of Noise from Annabel Merullo at PFD. There are translation deals and auctions ongoing in a further 14 markets, the publisher said.
Kagge was the first person in history to reach the ‘three poles’ — North, South and the summit of Everest – and once spent 50 days walking in Antarctica solo with a broken radio. He is also a publisher, co-founding Oslo-based publishing house Kagge Forlag which was the original publisher of Lars Mytting’s bestselling Norwegian Wood, which won last year’s British Book Industry Award for non-fiction book of the year.
The publisher said: "Opening this meditative, charming, personal and at times practical book, Kagge poses three questions: What is silence? Where can it be found? Why is it more important now than ever? What follows are 33 attempts to answer the questions from a myriad of directions. As he writes, 'shutting out the world is not about turning your back on your surroundings, but rather the opposite: it is seeing the world more clearly, maintaining your direction and taking a stab at loving your life'."
Joel Rickett, publisher at Viking, said: “I’ve been immersed in Silence for only a couple of days, but it feels like a book that will always be part of my life. It’s a meditation on the power of silence, a journey into silence, a case for the vital importance of shutting out the world. That might sound pretentious but it is not – Erling’s approach is charming and tangible and threaded with personal stories. Readers will be crying out for Silence.”
Kagge said: “The interest in the book is a great surprise. I set out searching for answers for myself and my daughters while reading, talking and writing about silence. I discovered that you have to find your own silence. Your own South Pole. I chose Viking Penguin because my heart, and people I trust, told me it would be a good home.”
The book is being published by Kagge Forlag in Norway, and rights have been sold in Brazil (Companhia das Letras), Denmark (People’s Press), Germany (Suhrkamp), Italy (Einaudi Stile Libero), the Netherlands (AW Bruna), Spain (Penguin Random House Mondadori) and Sweden (Wahlstrom & Widstrand), with auctions ongoing in France, Poland, Taiwan, Japan, Russia, Finland, and for Hebrew rights.