Bloomsbury has pre-empted How To Be A Citizen, “a profound and simple” insight into the effect of rules on human behaviour and society by Professor Cindy Skach.

UK and Commonwealth rights were scooped by associate publisher Alexis Kirschbaum with commissioning editor Jasmine Horsey from Emma Bal at the Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency. Italian rights have been pre-empted by Il Saggiatore, with Spanish rights sold to Planeta at auction and German rights to Ullstein, also at auction. Bloomsbury will publish How To Be A Citizen in 2023.

The non-fiction work proposes six ideas across key areas, including leadership, public education, race and immigration, the environment, community and fundamental rights, and suggests steps the reader can take in each of these areas to be better, truer citizens.

Drawing on her own research, teaching, and fieldwork in democratic theory and practice over the past three decades, Skach will expose both the “seriousness of the challenges we face and a solution to them that is profoundly within our reach”, with cases studies from around the world.

Skach is a professor of political and legal theory at the University of Bologna, having previously held teaching positions at King’s College London, Harvard University and the University of Oxford. She has conducted research on six continents, held visiting professorships or fellowships in five countries, and has had her research published in seven languages.

She said: “I have studied the effects of rules on political behaviour for the past three decades, and now I want to share my heretical take on these rules. I am thrilled to be working with Alexis Kirschbaum at Bloomsbury, who I know will expertly bring these lessons to a broad audience, allowing us to understand the many ways in which rules have made our world a more difficult place to live. And I feel very fortunate to have been brought to this amazing place in my journey by Emma Bal and the entire team at MM.”

Kirschbaum added: “The central idea of this book – rejecting the centrality of law as the major basis for effective civil societies – is completely fascinating. Cindy Skach’s approach is fresh, backed by not only academic credentials but also real, grounded experience that enables her to ask foundational questions about society. Her answers are profound and simple, and ultimately fundamental to every aspect of our public and private lives.”