Hutchinson Heinemann has triumphed in a 14-way auction for Everything is Material by Dutch archaeologist Maikel Kuijpers. Publisher Helen Conford acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Emma Bal at Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency.

North American rights were sold to Aubrey Martinson at Crown after a six-way auction. Rights were also sold at auction in Germany to Droemer, the Netherlands to Nieuw Amsterdam, Italy’s Aboca Edizioni, France’s Albin Michel, and Romania’s Nemira. Rights were also pre-empted in China by Folio Beijing Culture and also sold in Sweden to Natur & Kultur.

Everything is Material explores the history of humankind through our relationship with materials that shape the modern world – wood, soil, brick, steel, concrete, glass, plastic, and fertilizer – making the case that a sustainable future depends on how we live with materials.

Emma Bal said: When I came across Maikel’s articles in De Correspondent, I was immediately struck by his unique way of seeing the world, and his infectious love of materials. I believe his work will change how we humans regard ourselves throughout history, but more importantly show us how to imagine surviving and thriving in the future. I am extremely proud to represent him, and I can’t wait to see his first book be published around the world.

Maikel Kuijpers said: Throughout my academic career I’ve been exploring how materials have shaped the human world, and how an archaeological perspective is relevant in our search for a more sustainable future. This is what gave my work purpose, and it’s a message that I am very keen on getting across. It’s wonderful and empowering to see the enthusiasm for my book. First by Emma at MM Agency, who approached me and has been so helpful in the initial stages. And now to continue this journey with Helen Conford at Penguin, of whom I am sure that she shares a similar sense of purpose, and who understands why I want to write this book. I feel fortunate to have such an ambitious editor and committed team behind me and look forward to the journey ahead!

Helen Conford said: “I love how Maikel has such ambition and intent in this book while conveying an important message in such an accessible, infectious style. I think Everything is Material is a potentially paradigm-shifting work and I am thrilled and honoured he chose us as his partner.”