Simon & Schuster UK has bought a book about China for six figures by author and TV presenter Michael Wood following an auction.
The presenter of BBC programmes “In The Footsteps of Alexander The Great” and “In Search of the Dark Age” has turned his “unique and inquisitive eye to the one country that has dominated the world stage more than any other since the turn of the 21st century”.
Iain MacGregor, publishing director of non-fiction at S&S UK acquired UK and Commonwealth (excluding Canada) rights to The Story of China from Catherine Clarke at Felicity Bryan Associates. It is slated for publication in spring 2020 with an r.r.p. of £25.
Drawing on the historian and author’s research and travels spanning more than 30 years in the country, the book will feature “Wood’s characteristic warmth and enthusiasm in encountering the past”.
“From the dusty central Henan plain and its layered cities, and the great rivers, to the Eastern coastal ports, Michael builds a vivid picture of this ancient culture through the writings of the great philosophers and poets, the art that records both everyday life and imperial splendour, and through the festivals and revivals and family gatherings of the present day,” a S&S UK spokesperson said.
MacGregor described how other elements of world politics have distracted us from the important future impact of China on the rest of the planet.
“China is the coming superpower, whose economic influence on global markets will reach critical mass in many of our own lifetimes,” he said.
“But, if we for a moment stop focusing on Brexit, and the debacles in the White House, what do we really know about the Chinese people, their traditions and their history? What has shaped this immense country?”
MacGregor said that Wood “can open the door to his readership and allow them to confidently peak inside and discover the true China and what its own future holds for the rest of the planet”.
Wood, who is based in north London, revealed he was “looking forward immensely to the challenge of writing a book that is exciting, relevant and original in its approach”.
He said: “Chinese civilisation has fascinated me since I was in my teens - I first travelled there in the early 1980’s - and no story in history, surely, is more important for our time?”
In The Footsteps Of Alexander The Great and In Search of the Dark Age accompanied the BBC programmes of the same name and were published by Ebury.