Faber to publish Kirsty Sedgman’s
On Being Unreasonable

By Faber Editor, 4 June 2021

Faber is to publish Kirsty Sedgman’s ‘timely and thought-provoking’ book on human behaviour, On Being Unreasonable.

Guardian Faber acquired World All Languages and audio rights from Jaime Marshall at J. P. Marshall Literary Agency. Publication is scheduled for 4 August 2022.

In On Being Unreasonable, Sedgman shows us how we can develop new rules of engagement in a world where people disagree on what constitutes appropriate behaviour but in which everyone believes they are abiding by ‘common sense’. Should women not do their makeup on trains? Is there an appropriate way to breastfeed in public? Is there a right way and a wrong way to protest against prejudice and discrimination?

From manners to etiquette to civil obedience and disobedience, this book examines the idiosyncrasies, prejudices, and biases that make up the modern social contract, and boldly erects new guideposts to help us navigate our complex social world. It asks us to think critically about who gets to decide where the lines are drawn, and it challenges us to ask when it’s reasonable to expect other people to conform to our value systems or even our sense of propriety, and when that might actually be an unreasonable thing to do.

Kirsty Sedgman said,

‘Over the past few years, we’ve seen a rise in disconnection and distrust and have forgotten how to understand each other. But it doesn’t have to be this way, and now is our chance to do things differently. I’m absolutely delighted to be working with Faber because of their passion for publishing books that challenge injustice and dogma. After my first conversation with the team I knew we were on exactly the same page about what this book could be.’

Fred Baty, editor, said:

‘On Being Unreasonable is one of those vanishingly rare books that buries itself in your subconscious from the first page, and gives a brand new perspective to the seemingly everyday. Kirsty’s brilliantly warm and witty writing offers a clarion call to throw off the shackles of our repressive social contract and reassess what it means to be unreasonable. I couldn’t be more thrilled to be working with her on such an eye-opening and immensely engaging book.’

Kirsty Sedgman is a cultural studies expert who specialises in audience experience and human behaviour. Currently a lecturer at the University of Bristol, she has spoken about her research around the world, and has seen her work featured in outlets including BBC Front Row, the Times Literary Supplement, Guardian, and New York Times.

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Kirsty Sedgman

A unified theory of reasonableness – and how to be unreasonable for the right reasons.