W&N acquires Blackburn’s ‘captivating’ title on the rules of nature

Weidenfeld & Nicolson has acquired UK and Commonwealth rights in The Moth Trap: Deciphering Nature’s Hidden Rules by Tim Blackburn.

Publisher Jenny Lord acquired rights at auction from Will Francis at Janklow & Nesbit. Rebecca Bright, associate editor at Island Press, acquired North American rights from Ian Bonaparte at Janklow & Nesbit.


The publisher said: “Every morning, ecologist Tim Blackburn is inspired by the diversity contained within the moth trap he runs on the roof of his London flat. Beautiful, ineffably mysterious organisms, these moths offer a glimpse into a larger order, one that extends beyond individual species of moth, beyond lepidoptera or insects, and into a hidden landscape. Just as Michael Faraday’s iron filings arrange themselves to articulate a magnetic field that would otherwise be invisible, Tim shows us that when we pay proper attention to these tiny animals, their relationships with one another, and their connections to the wider web of life, a greater truth about the world gradually emerges into focus.”


Blackburn is a scientist with 30 years of experience studying questions about the distribution, abundance and diversity of species in ecological assemblages. In The Moth Trap, he will reflect on what he has learned working as a scientist studying ecosystems and demonstrate how the contents of one small moth box can illuminate the workings of all nature.


Blackburn commented: “The richness and beauty of the moths living largely unseen in urban London caught me by surprise, and inspired me to write about how the content of a moth trap is the culmination of billions of years of work by the rules governing the natural world. I’m delighted that Jenny Lord and W&N have given me the chance to bring these wonders of nature to a wider audience.”


Lord said: “We were all utterly captivated by Tim’s fascinating proposal. With infectious passion and charm in abundance, his book will open our eyes to the vast web of connections in our ecosystem and will forever change the way we view the humble moth. We are delighted to welcome Tim to W&N.”


The Moth Trap: Deciphering Nature’s Hidden Rules will be published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson in hardback, audio and e-book in June 2023.