W&N signs alternative history of 20th century

W&N signs alternative history of 20th century

Weidenfeld & Nicolson has acquired at auction a new non-fiction book offering an alternative history to the 20th century by John Higgs, a BAFTA-winning children's television programmer.

Commissioning editor Bea Hemming bought UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, on proposal from Sarah Ballard at United Agents in the title, Stranger Than We Can Imagine.

The title will be published in the UK and Canada, where it has been acquired by Random House company McClelland & Stewart, in spring 2015. German and Spanish rights were sold in pre-empts to Suhrkamp and Taurus respectively, and Dutch rights sold at auction to De Bezige Bij by Linda Shaugnessy and Jessica Craig at United Agents.

In the book, Higgs argues that while the 19th century gave birth to concretely intelligent developments, such as the steam engine and electricity, the 20th century produced by contrast theories and ideas such as quantum entanglement, cubism, relativity, psychedelics, postmodernism and chaos maths. According to the agent, the book "makes accessible a seemingly mind-bending wall of strange ideas".

Meanwhile, W&N will also be publishing a new, extended edition of Higgs' previously self-published e-book about British acid-house band, The KLF, called KLF: Chaos, Magic, Music, Money. It acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, in the title, which will be released in paperback and e-book in September.