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A history of pandemics from the Spanish Flu of 1918, which claimed the lives of 50 million people worldwide, to Covid-19, is wracking up a string of international sales. The Pandemic Century by Mark Honigsbaum, former chief reporter on the UK’s Observer, tells the story of nine disease outbreaks that have afflicted humanity over the last century, among them the Ebola virus which struck west Africa in 2014 and the Zika virus which hit Brazil in 2015.
Originally published in hardback in the UK by Hurst last year, UK paperback rights have been pre-emptively snapped up by Penguin which will publish an updated paperback on 4 June. Norton is publishing in paperback in the US on 14 June. Margaret Halton at PEW Literary in London is handling translation rights. Arabic rights are still available and there has been interest from a number of Arab publishers. The title has already sold to Italy on pre-empt to Ponte Alle Grazie, with Japanese rights going to NHK, Chinese rights to CITIC, Korean rights to ROK, Romanian rights to Libris, Taiwanese rights to SunColor, Ukrainian rights to Yakaboo and a number of offers currently pending in Russia.
Following his time at the Observer, Honigsbaum returned to university as a mature student to study medical history, specialising in pandemics. He has added a 10,000-word chapter to the book to include the latest developments in the coronavirus pandemic. Hurst’s original version of the book was a Financial Times Book of the Year in 2019.