Tabitha Lasley's book is both a portrait of offshore oil workers and a candid memoir
Nicholas Pearson at 4th Estate has signed journalist Tabitha Lasley's "brilliant" memoir and study of oil rig culture Sea State. 4th Estate has UK and Commonwealth rights (exc Canada) from Tracy Bohan at the Wylie Agency.
In her mid-30s, Lasley quit her job on a women's magazine and headed to Aberdeen, aiming to fulfil an ambition to write about oil rigs and the men who work on them. Sea State is both that book and "the story of a journalist whose distance from her subject becomes perilously thin".
Pearson said: "I haven't read anything quite like Sea State. While it delivers on its initial intent - a portrait of the oil rig industry and those who work in it - the book turns on its heel and is both a ruthlessly candid examination of the author herself, and also a revealing and often brutal exploration of masculinity. It is brilliantly written and impossible to put down."
Lasley said: "I am absolutely thrilled to be at 4th Estate. They publish some of the best writers working today and have an especially strong track record on memoir. It's a real honour to be joining the same list as Hilary Mantel, Lorna Sage, Joan Didion and Jia Tolentino.
"Sea State wasn't quite the book I set out to write. I wanted to find out what men were like with no women around. In the end, I discovered a separate but related truth: what people are like with no one around and how isolation can corrode a person's character. At its heart, it is a book about rootlessness and the search for home. I feel very lucky that it has found one at 4th Estate."