Viking has scooped an “urgent clarion call” for the British farming industry by Sarah Langford in a three-way auction.
Editorial director Tom Killingbeck acquired world rights from Nelle Andrew at Rachel Mills Literary. For a Love of the Land will be published in spring 2022.
The book was inspired when Langford — formerly a barrister, but from a farming background — moved back to the countryside and found herself thrust back into an agricultural life she had left behind. She found her farming friends “beleaguered with fierce criticism from the vegan and environmentalist movements, facing uncertainty in the wake of Brexit, and now hit with the Covid-19 pandemic”.
The synopsis explains: “In For a Love of the Land, Sarah follows a selection of farmers from across the UK through the seasons, capturing a slice of agricultural history at a time of unprecedented change. Through their stories, she seeks to humanise an industry so often scapegoated and misunderstood. She shows us what we can learn from farmers about currently fashionable ideas like sustainability, self-sufficiency and living closely with nature, and what will be lost if their farms are unable to survive in the future.”
Langford is the author of the Sunday Times bestseller In Your Defence: Stories of Life and Law (Doubleday). For 10 years, she worked in criminal and family law in London and around the UK.
She said: “There are few better feelings than pouring your heart into a project, and then finding someone who shares your passion for it. Viking immediately saw how my own farming background and my time as a barrister could combine in this book. Through telling the stories of our farmers I hope to do what I did every day in a courtroom: take people into a world so often misunderstood by those outside it.”
Killingbeck added: “As someone who moved to London from the countryside, I’m fascinated by the frequent disconnect between mainstream coverage of farming and the reality. Sarah Langford is a brilliantly sharp yet sensitive writer with the empathy and determination to bridge the widening gap in understanding between city and country. This is going to be both a perfect armchair read – roaming through rolling fields and fruitful orchards with a host of unforgettable characters – and an urgent clarion call for the British farming industry, at a time where these voices aren’t being heard.”
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