Viking has bought the first book from scientist Dr Camilla Pang, born from her attempts to “demystify human behaviour” as she tried to cope with autistic spectrum disorder.
Editorial director Emily Robertson acquired world rights from Adam Gauntlett at Peters, Fraser & Dunlop. A User’s Guide to Life: What science taught me about life, love and relationships will be published in hardback in March 2020.
The publisher described it as “an original and incisive exploration of human nature and the strangeness of social norms, written from ‘the outside looking in’”.
Pang holds a PhD in bioinformatics from University College London and now works as a postdoctoral scientist. The synopsis states: “Camilla dismantles our obscure social customs and identifies what it really means to be human using her unique expertise and a language she knows best: science. A User’s Guide to Life will investigate what proteins, machine learning and molecular chemistry can teach us about how we make decisions, how we form relationships and why we conform to social customs. Ultimately, it will serve as the book that Camilla always wanted as a child: a guide to how humans work.
Robertson said: “I’m honoured to be publishing Camilla at Viking. The way she describes her ASD as a superpower was inspiring and enlightening, and her unique view on the world, and the way we act, has so much to teach her neuro-typical readers. I hope this book will forge the way for even more celebration of neurodiversity and give much deserved attention to those who think differently to the norm. Camilla’s book is a uniquely special proposition combining memoir like none other you’ve ever read, science for those who never thought a popular science book was their thing, and a truly practical self-help book by stealth.”