Allen Lane has signed Professor Corinne Fowler’s “landmark” history of the British countryside in a six-figure deal after a 12-way auction!

Penguin Press publishing director Tom Penn acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Emma Bal at the Madeleine Milburn Literary, TV & Film Agency. Allen Lane will publish the book in spring 2023.

Professor Fowler made headlines as lead academic author of the National Trust’s Colonial Countryside report, with its publication last summer attracting intense media coverage for exploring the links between National Trust properties and colonialism. She specialises in colonialism and colonial literature at the University of Leicester.

The Countryside will reveal the global histories of mining, wool production, land ownership, dispossession and enclosure. In doing so, it replaces a partial, sanitised version of history with a full, truthful account of our past: one that will transform our understanding of our heritage and our landscape.

The publisher said: “Professor Fowler continues her mission to disrupt nostalgic views of the countryside, exploring and exposing the global history of rural Britain through a series of walks taking her through some of the nation’s most idyllic countryside. The Countryside will address collective amnesia about Britain’s four colonial centuries by roaming the parts of our country deemed most idyllic and most untouched by the darker shades of the past: from the Scottish Highlands to mid-Wales, and Norfolk to Cornwall.”

Professor Fowler said: “I’ve explored the history of British ideas about the countryside for much of my academic career. This book continues my mission to connect colonial experience with British rural life. Although these new histories may be sensitive, I believe they can only deepen our relationship with the landscape. I’m very glad to be working with Tom Penn and the team at Allen Lane.”

Penn added: “Corinne’s exceptionally significant work on the connections between colonialism and the British countryside has been widely acclaimed, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome her to Allen Lane with The Countryside. A stunning, vividly detailed exploration of our rural history in all its richness and complexity, it reveals how local places were transformed by colonial activity of all kinds. This is a landmark book. Told with compassion, clear-sightedness and acute historical judgement, it will enable us all to achieve a fuller, deeper relationship with our shared past.”