That’s made for cheering news as publishing hots up for the Frankfurt Book Fair – Client Earth, the book I’ve been writing alongside James Thornton for the last two years, has just sold to Philip Gwyn Jones at Scribe.
Patrick Walsh, who has a terrific track record for selling environmental books which stems from his deep belief in the field, has worked zealously at this one. It looked like selling to Bloomsbury a while back, we had constructive meetings with the editor Bill Swainson, I rewrote the whole proposal for invited resubmission – and Bill was made redundant.
Philip actually strikes me as the perfect editor. I met him at a Man Booker Prize event in the Orangery in Kensington a couple of years ago – he edited the shortlisted The Sisters Brothers by Patrick de Witt, and we enthused about that. He’s someone who can get on board the quality of writing as well as the richness of content. And he has a great eye for environmental bestsellers – when everyone else was rejecting Naomi Klein’s No Logo, Philip stepped in with an offer – the same, in fact, as he has made for this. No Logo, of course, went on to become a global bestseller. I do want that for this book, because it’s message is truly urgent.
James is my partner, which gives its own flavour to this project. From the home front I’ve lived his life as a public interest environmental lawyer, and the whole founding and development of ClientEarth; it has been the subject of most of our conversations for many years. It has taken writing a book, however, to really learn the value of public interest environmental law. I’ve travelled widely, met some powerful and committed people, sat through courtroom dramas, and seen at first hand how law really is packing a huge punch in the fight to mitigate climate change. James happens to have a new op-ed on an aspect of this in the Guardian today.
We’ve some way to go. Since I signed up for this project, climate litigation has become real and China has opened itself up to controlling the environment through the rule of law, all aspects James is at the heart of and ones that this book now needs to cover. So 50,000+ words are good and the rest is drafts. I’ll be busy through submission in April. Expect the bright and shine book in January 2017.