William Collins has acquired a new history of the British Constitution by legal expert and academic James Grant, about the UK's "unwritten" constitution.
Arabella Pike, publishing director at William Collins, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights in the book from Caroline Dawnay at United Agents. Publication is scheduled for 2021.
“Unwritten is a vital book for our troubled times, cracking open the mythos of the United Kingdom’s notoriously ‘unwritten’ constitution to explain how we are governed – and how we should be governed,” the HarperCollins imprint said.
The book offers “a mix of narrative history with and philosophy” and “is borne of the current moment and the United Kingdom’s future, now less certain and more divided than perhaps any other time since the English civil war, as we face Brexit and the possible break-up of Britain”.
“Grant, a senior lecturer in law at King’s College London, asks monumental questions about how state power should be organised and held to account,” the synopsis reads. “For example, how should power be distributed between the executive, parliament, and the people? Should judges have a power to strike down democratic decisions? How should we protect the rights of minorities against majorities? And if the constitution gives us an answer that is illegitimate, do we have a duty to follow it? How can we change it?”
Pike added: “Understanding Britain’s “unwritten” constitution has never seemed more critical than it does today and the brilliant James Grant is writing the book to help us. It will be essential reading for anyone wishing to engage meaningfully with the myriad political and constitutional challenges that face us.”
Grant said: “This book explores the stories behind how we came to be governed the way we are and reflects on the principles that ought to guide the way we’re governed in the future. I hope it will succeed in helping us think more clearly about the challenges we face at this tumultuous moment in British politics and in our constitution. I couldn’t be happier to be working with the brilliant team at William Collins.”