William Collins scoops FT prize-winning tech book at 'competitive auction'

William Collins scoops FT prize-winning tech book at 'competitive auction'

The winner of last year’s Financial Times and McKinsey Bracken Bower Prize for young authors has made deals well over six figures across five countries for a book about technology innovation, with William Collins scooping the book in the UK.

Arabella Pike, publishing director and editor at William Collins, bought UK and Commonwealth rights for Mehran Gul's book from James Pullen at the Wylie Agency following a “competitive auction” according to the FT. The book has also sold to Simon & Schuster US, Bungeishunju in Japan, CITIC in China, and the Business Books & Co in Korea. Deals with publishers in Taiwan, Italy and other countries are reportedly being negotiated.

The deals have amounted to well over $100,000 based on the 33-year-old’s award-winning proposal, according to organisers of the Financial Times and McKinsey Bracken Bower Prize. The working title is The New Geography of Innovation and it explores the rise of technology innovation hubs outside the US. It is slated for publication in the second half of 2019.

William Collins said the book's UK title will be The New Geography of Innovation: Global Unicorns, Innovation Ecosystems, and the Race for the Future, and that it will map the billion-dollar companies springing up in places like China, Korea, Singapore, India and continental Europe - far from stock exchange-based financial centres like New York - to predict who will be the next wave of economic superpowers. 

Gul, who works for the World Economic Forum as lead for digital transformation of industries, said the book brings together the themes of technology, entrepreneurship and globalisation. It will ask the question “what do different innovation cultures look like and how is that going to feed competition in the future?”

He plans to travel to Japan, Singapore, China, India, Israel, Sweden and South Africa, among other countries, to research different “innovation hives” that are fostering start-ups and new technologies.

“The locus of innovation in technology and its applications in business is shifting from the US and being distributed much more widely around the world,” Mr Gul wrote in an extract from his original proposal for the prize.

Pike told The Bookseller: "The book maps the shifting geography of innovation by tracking the rise of new fast growing companies and tracing where they come from. Thanks to Mehran Gul’s powerful storytelling and first-rate analysis, this is a book that looks beyond each individual case study to chart the impact and future of global economics, politics and culture. It will have a wide, international readership."

The prize goes to the author of a 5,000-word book proposal on the challenges and opportunities of growth and is open to writers aged under 35. The deadline for this year’s prize is 30th September and the winner will be announced at a dinner in London on 12th November, when the FT and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award will also be presented.