William Collins has acquired a new book by Cal Flyn, Islands of Abandonment, said to be a lyrical and urgent study of how nature perseveres and flourishes in the most barren and hostile of places, void of people but rich in life.
The book is described as "an urgent hymn to the healing power of nature and a study of its limitations" and explores the reality of life without human interference as its author travels to some of the eeriest and most desolate places on earth, from Chernobyl in Ukraine to Western Australia via Germany, France and Tanzania.
Offering a story of redemption, the case studies fuel Flyn's argument that even some of the most polluted spots on earth can be rehabilitated through ecological processes. Moreover, she posits some of the world's greatest biodiversity can be found not in carefully guarded nature reserves but in those places considered so valueless or polluted or ugly that they have been abandoned.
Publishing director Arabella Pike, who bought UK and Commonwealth rights in the title from Sophie Lambert at C&W, called Flyn "a rare talent" and fresh voice in nature and travel writing. "Her observations are simultaneously written with unflinching honesty and beautiful, arresting prose as she takes us on a dream-like journey to far-away places and urban no man’s lands. I am thrilled to be publishing this book, which will be a wakeup call for many," she said.
The book is scheduled for publication in Spring 2021, with Emily Wunderlich at Viking (PRH US) publishing in the US. International submission in other languages will follow shortly.
Islands of Abandonment is Flyn's second book. It follows Thicker than Water (William Collins, 2016), a title blending memoir, history and travel that saw the journalist explore her great-great-great-uncle's past as an explorer and leader of aboriginal massacres.