Walker Books snaps up ‘riotously funny’ Totally Chaotic History series
Walker Books has snapped up Totally Chaotic History, a “riotously funny new series from public historian, author and “You’re Dead to Me” podcaster Greg Jenner.
Senior editor Alice Primmer and non-fiction editorial director Daisy Jellicoe acquired UK rights in a two-book deal from Donald Winchester at Watson Little. Rikin Parekh, represented by Claire Cartey at Holroyde Cartey, will be illustrating the series.
Each book will focus on a specific historical era, and see Jenner collaborate with an expert. The synopsis says: “Together they will embrace the hectic, exciting and unpredictable nature of history by racing through key events in chronological order in a frenetically funny narrative.
“Kicking off this whirlwind tour of the past is Totally Chaotic History: Ancient Egypt, which is slated for April 2024 and teams Greg Jenner up with Egyptologist and curator at Manchester Museum Dr Campbell Price. Harnessing the latest archaeological research, Greg and Campbell will guide readers through 5,000 years of rambunctious history, from the first pharaohs to the discovery of King Tut’s tomb, while unearthing surprising, funny and almost unbelievable truths.”
The second book in the series will be a reconnoitre into Roman Britain, and will follow on in October of the same year.
Totally Chaotic History comes after the 2022 publication of Jenner’s debut children’s gift book, You Are History (Walker Books), which looks at the history of 50 objects children use in their daily lives. There was high-profile coverage for the campaign, including appearances on “BBC Breakfast” and Channel 4’s “Sunday Brunch”, plus podcast and print adverts.
Greg Jenner is a public historian, author and podcast host, specialising in communicating history through popular culture. He is best-known for his educational comedy podcast for the BBC, “You’re Dead To Me”. He has published three books for adults.
He said: “Recently I’ve been inundated with requests from teachers and parents for straightforward chronologies. Well, I am happy to oblige with the chronology… but where’s the fun in being straightforward?!
“Totally Chaotic History is full of cutting-edge knowledge, thanks to input from experts such as Dr Campbell Price, and also celebrates how history is open to doubt and welcomes debate. I’m thrilled to be writing a series that rejoices in the madcap relentlessness of the past, but also explores how we know things, as well as the who, what and when.”
Primmer added: “Hold on tight, because this is history like you’ve never experienced it before! I can’t wait for Greg’s legions of fans to get their hands on this series, which is bursting with his trademark humour and energy. Who said the past has to be dry and dusty?”
Jellicoe commented: “We are beyond thrilled to be publishing Greg’s landmark new series. Using the latest scholarship, Greg has turned chronological history into a fantastically funny race through time. Totally Chaotic History is the series that teachers and parents have been searching for, and kids are going to love it.”