Chatto & Windus has signed a new two-book deal with The Language of Kindness author Christie Watson, including a joint project with her 16-year-old daughter Bella Egberongbe.
With the working title Conversations in our Living Room, the mother-daughter duo will write about how the different generations “listen and learn from each other in a rapidly changing world”. Due out in summer 2023, the book will be a “lively and dynamic sequence” of essays on topics including class, race, climate, sexual identity and mental health.
The other book in the deal, Quilt on Fire, scheduled for publication in summer 2022, is about the search for love in midlife. The synopsis explains: “Christie has been searching for the meaning of love since her early twenties: when the bright glow of emotion she experienced with her boyfriend turned out to be her bedroom quilt that had caught fire. Now, at the age of 44, following what she thought was a spectacular breakdown (and that turned out to be the peri-menopause), she asks the question: what does love mean now? In this series of interconnected essays, including Mind, Body, Soul, Sex and Dating, Christie takes us on a very funny, sometimes shocking and transportingly poignant journey: through perimenopause, the search for love in midlife and why the older couples on 'First Dates' always make us cry the most.”
Watson was a nurse for 20 years and is currently professor of medical and health humanities at the University of East Anglia. Her first novel, Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away (Quercus), won the Costa First Novel and Waverton Good Read Awards. Her non-fiction debut, The Language of Kindness (Vintage), was published in 2018 and has been translated into 23 languages, and spent five months in the Sunday Times bestseller lists' top 10. The paperback of The Courage to Care (Vintage) is published on 10th June 2021.
Publishing director Clara Farmer, who acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, to both books from Sophie Lambert at C+W, said: “Christie began her writing career as a (Costa Prize-winning) novelist and joined the Chatto list with her debut non-fiction, The Language of Kindness. The openness and empathy in such abundance in that book and in her latest, The Courage to Care, now extend into piercing truths of perimenopausal life and love in Quilt on Fire.
“Christie’s journey is instantly relatable, and written with resilience, humour and tenderness. Together with daughter Bella, in what I’m sure will be a much anticipated (and needed!) book for parents and teenagers, Conversations in our Living Room, Christie proves herself to be closely in touch with what readers are eager to hear next. Having shown us kindness and courage, Christie now brings us love and, with Bella, wisdom: Christie Watson gives us the toolkit for how to be human.”