​Faber to publish THE SECRET LIFE OF COWS in October

Faber & Faber is over the mooo-n about the publication of The Secret Life of Cows by Rosamund Young in October 2017.

Laura Hassan, Editorial Director, Faber, acquired World All Rights directly with the author Rosamund Young. The Secret Life of Cows has generated huge rights interest and will be major news at the London Book Fair.

9780571336777 (1)Laura Hassan, Editorial Director, Faber & Faber:

‘When a Faber sales rep Melanie Tyrrell overheard a customer asking for The Secret Life of Cows and being told it was out of print, she spotted an opportunity. Next, she noted Alan Bennett’s diary entry in Keeping On Keeping On for 24 August 2006 read: “I am reading The Secret Life of Cows by Rosamund Young, a delightful book . . . it alters the way one looks at the world.”

It was too odd a coincidence to pass up. I got hold of a second-hand copy and fell in love with the glorious storytelling and Young’s gentle, warm voice. At Kite’s Nest Farm the cows roam free and are known by name rather than number (Horatio to Desdemona, Mrs Ogmore and Mrs Pritchard, Straw Béret and the orphan calf Jane Eyre) and they have personalities as diverse as our own. She shows us how cows make friends, play games, nurse grudges, babysit for each other, grieve, and form life-long friendships. Drawn from over forty years of farming, it’s a little gem of animal sentience.’

Lizzie Bishop, Rights Director, Faber & Faber:

‘We’ve been so thrilled with the response to The Secret Life of Cows, which has sold internationally at extraordinary speed: rights were sold swiftly in Finland, Denmark, Spain, Italy, Norway, France, Holland and Sweden, an eleven-way German auction is underway, and several US offers have already been received within days of sharing the manuscript. We’ve been overwhelmed by the passionate responses from editors all over the globe to Rosamund’s wonderful book and her gorgeous writing.’

Finland – Bazar
Denmark – Don Max (H R Ferdinand)
Spain – Seix Barral (Planeta)
Italy – Garzanti
Norway – Cappelen Damm
France – Éditions Stock
Holland – Atlas Contact
Sweden – Lind & Co.

Rosamund Young said:

‘When my book was first published I was delighted to receive letters from farm workers and herdsmen who had loved the cows in their charge but who never felt free to admit or show it openly. Today there is a powerful upsurge in concern about the source of our food, I hope that with the reissue of The Secret Life of Cows many more readers will learn to understand that the amount of loving care given to all food animals directly affects the health-giving properties of the end product.’


Faber & Faber had form in the genre of ‘Farming, Gardening and the Open Air’ (known by insiders as the ‘muck and mystery’ list). The list was begun by Richard de la Mare in the 1940s and titles included Harnessing the Earthworm to A Fruitgrower’s Diary.