Weidenfeld & Nicolson has signed Men at War, a "radical queering of military history" from The Quietus co-founder Luke Turner, whose book Out of the Woods (W&N) was shortlisted for the Wainwright Prize.
Publisher Jenny Lord acquired world rights for Men at War from Natalie Galustain at DHH. The book will publish in hardback, audio and e-book in Spring 2022.
In Men at War, Turner will use human stories and literature of the time to explore how the social and sexual upheaval of the Second World War changed our concept of masculinity forever, according to the book's synopsis. It will look at how "the myths of WWII continue to shape our present" and, in seeking a deeper understanding of the individual complexities of the men who fought against fascism, "unpick contemporary toxic narratives of masculinity and nationalism".
Turner said: "For as long as I can remember I have had a fascination with the Second World War. As a kid, I would write stories about planes with human faces, build Airfix kits of tanks and bombers, devour war literature and films, yet I never really knew where this obsession came from. Men at War is my attempt to understand why that period of history has cast such a long shadow over the decades since, right up to the present day, and especially in the male mind. I want to celebrate and investigate the diversity of the men who fought in that total war, to understand their motivations and desires, to explore queer identity and sexual fluidity in a time that I believe has become dangerously mis-remembered as far more conservative than it actually was."
Lord said: "Men at War promises to be as important as it is ambitious, as fascinating as it is timely, and I can’t imagine anyone who is better placed to tell the stories of these men–and the part they (unwittingly) played in the contemporary narrative around masculinity that desperately needs re-evaluating."
Turner is a writer, editor and curator. He co-founded and edits the online music publication The Quietus and writes regularly for a variety of magazines, websites and broadcasters. His first book, Out of the Woods, was shortlisted for the Wainwright Prize.