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NewSouth acquires world rights to Why are we like this? by Zoe Kean

NewSouth is delighted to announce the acquisition of award-winning science writer Zoe Kean’s new smash-hit pop-science evolutionary epic Why are we like this? Aiming to answer questions that are deeply important to humanity and our survival, this book takes the reader on an adventure through time and evolutionary history.

What can scuba diving at Shark Bay uncover about evolution of sex and gender? What can Tasmanian devils teach us about treatment for cancer in humans? Why did we evolve to spend a third of our life asleep?

Some questions have nipped at humanity’s heels for as long as we’ve been… well, humans. As our world becomes more chaotic and uncertain, these questions are becoming increasingly pressing and many are turning to science for answers.

Kean represents the new generation of science writers and communicators, with a passion for evolution, ecology and the environment. In her clear, creative, and scientifically rigorous style, Why are we like this? will be an enjoyable and informative book for everyone, no matter their level of science literacy. From the cutting edge of research, it will present plenty of surprising parallels and new theories that will make the most avid science reader stop and say, ‘I didn’t know that!’ or ‘I’ve never thought of it that way!’

Kean says, ‘In researching this book, I have been able to interview some of the most exciting thinkers of our time. They work hard in remote field sites or in laboratories hidden deep within university campuses. They are tackling the big questions we all wrestle with, why do we love each other, get sick, care for each, have sex, and sleep? I am thrilled to be translating their fascinating work for a broad audience.’

'Zoe Kean’s love of science is infectious. Enchanting and adventurous, this big-thinking book takes us around Australia (and the world) to answer the big questions of life, love, and the universe,’ says NewSouth Publisher Harriet McInerney.

In understanding evolution, we see the astonishing adaptability and persistence of life. Life on Earth has survived meteorite strikes, ice ages, and continent-wide volcanic events. We, and the beings we share this planet with, are directly descended from those survivors. What can we learn from their survival? And how can all life pull through these trying times? Why are we like this? will tell you everything you need to know.

Why are we like this? will publish in late 2024.

ZOE KEAN lives in lutruwita/Tasmania, an island at the bottom of the world. She spends her time observing the universe and her wonder for it by telling science stories. She is an award-winning science writer with a focus on evolution, ecology, and the environment. You can find her words in The Guardian, the ABC, The Best Australian Science Writing 2022, Cosmos Magazine, and the BBC. Her love for science cannot be contained to the page, Zoe also gives talks, makes science TikTok videos and regularly appears on live radio. Zoe honed her writing and radio skills with the best at the ABC Science Unit as the Darren Osborne Regional Science Cadet (2019). She was the Assistant Director of The Beaker Street Festival in its first two years (2017, 2018). This bizarre and wonderful science festival is constantly creating new ways to share science with the community.

Zoe Kean