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W H Allen and Knopf to publish Conway's 'bold new perspective on human civilization'

Ebury’s W H Allen imprint has acquired Material World by Ed Conway, Sky News economics editor and columnist at the Times.

Material World is billed as the 'bold' new story of the history and future of human progress, told through seven raw materials that have built our world. The struggle for these ingredients has razed empires, demolished civilisations, fed our greed and grown our ingenuity, says the publisher.

Jamie Joseph, editorial director and head of W H Allen, pre-empted world rights (excluding North America) from Jonathan Conway at the Jonathan Conway Literary Agency. US and Canadian rights were pre-empted in a six-figure deal by Andrew Miller at Alfred A Knopf, from George Lucas at InkWell Management, on behalf of Conway.

Joseph said: "Ed’s book presents a bold new perspective on human civilisation, literally from the ground up. I love the range of this book, the epic sweep it takes across continents and cultures, while always anchoring back to the pressing, timely issue of our accelerating dependence on these raw materials. Ed can blend engaging, on-the-ground reporting with macro analysis in a way that few authors can match, and the result will be absolutely fascinating."

Conway commented: "Of all the topics I've encountered in my reporting, few seem to me to be as significant, underappreciated and fascinating as humankind's relationship with the critical physical materials that helped us build civilisation. For all that we are sometimes told that the 21st century transcends the physical, these materials are an indispensable part of our history, our present and our future. I am excited beyond words to be able to work with Jamie and Andrew to tell the story of why we are still, as someone once put it, living in a material world."

Material World will be published in 2023.