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Ithaka Press acquires the first political memoir from Sir Graham Brady in a six-figure deal

Ithaka Press, an imprint of Bonnier Books UK’s Black & White Publishing Group, has acquired Kingmaker: Secrets, Lies, and the Truth about Five Prime Ministers by Sir Graham Brady, chair of the 1922 Committee, and one of the UK’s most influential potential figures.

Sarah Braybrooke, publishing director, acquired World All Languages rights at auction from Max Edwards at Aevitas Creative Management UK. 

The last thirteen years of Conservative rule has seen turbulence at the centre of politics that is perhaps unique in British history. From coalition to Brexit, Covid to Partygate, Trussonomics to this year’s election, our government has never felt so fractured. And as Prime Ministers have come and gone, one man has been at the heart of every leadership challenge, seeing all, but saying nothing. Until now.

Sir Graham Brady has been the Chairman of the 1922 Committee since 2010. As the leader of the group with the power to choose a new leader of the Conservative Party, it is his hand that held the executioner’s axe over five consecutive Conservative Prime Minister’s heads. Elected to parliament in 1997 as the youngest Conservative MP in the house, Brady comes from a lower middle-class background and fell into politics age 16 when he joined a campaign to save his grammar school. This book is the story of how a boy from Salford came to be the definitive Tory insider.

With unique access to every key decisionmaker of the past thirteen years, it offers insights into the character and choices of successive Prime Ministers and the administrations which they led. Ultimately, it reveals where our most recent leadership failures originate, and asks hard questions about who will be fit to lead us tomorrow.

Sir Graham Brady said: ‘On New Year’s Eve 2022, at the close of the most turbulent year in recent political history, as I was bringing my family to watch the fireworks from the Commons Terrace, the security guard greeted me with the words, ‘Ah, the Kingmaker!’ As my 27 years in the Commons draws to a close, Kingmaker will tell the story of those days from a unique perspective. The long years of Opposition, working to climb the ‘greasy pole’ and then resigning from the frontbench on a point of principle. All this led me in an unexpected direction – elected as the Chairman of the Conservative 1922 Committee through some of the most challenging times: in which I have advised, sometimes sparred with five Prime Ministers, overseen the departure of four and the election of another three. Kingmaker tells this remarkable story, and I’m delighted to be working with Sarah and the Ithaka Press team to share it with readers later this year.’

Sarah Braybrooke said: ‘As we approach the general election, like most people in this country, I have a lot of questions about how we ended up here. Reading Graham Brady’s lucid and deliciously unfiltered insider account of our government’s leadership battles over the last decade and a half is an electrifying experience, and one that answers many questions. Kingmaker is the political reckoning we are all waiting for.’

Tim Whiting, Managing Director of the Black & White Publishing Group, said: ‘Since publishing its first book this time last year, the Ithaka Press list has been going from strength to strength. With 2024 its first full year of publishing, it is so exciting to be releasing this explosive book in the autumn. Sir Graham Brady has been at the heart of the Conservative Party for many years, serving under a variety of different Prime Ministers and Kingmaker will be a uniquely gripping insight into an extraordinary period of Britain’s recent history. I cannot wait for us to publish.’

Max Edwards said: ‘Sir Graham has been at the beating heart of the Conservative Party throughout the last 14 years. Kingmaker will lift the curtain on the tumultuous last decade and a half of British politics in a way that will appeal to readers on both sides of the aisle – giving a gripping first draft of history from one of the only people who was, consistently, in the room where it happened – and I’m thrilled that Sarah, Tim, and everyone at Ithaka Press match our ambitions in telling this brilliant story.’

Kingmaker is currently scheduled for 7th November 2024, but will move to be released as close as possible to the general election. It will publish in hardback, eBook and audiobook.

Ithaka Press is a new imprint dedicated to books which shed a light on important topics and take you on journeys into the unknown, spanning both nonfiction and fiction. It publishes the most elegant and urgent writing from the UK and further afield. Since it started publishing in 2023 it has released titles including Culture: A new world history by Harvard Professor Martin Puchner; A Small, Stubborn Town: Life, death and defiance in Ukraine (A Telegraph Book of the Year) by BBC correspondent Andrew Harding; and In The Streets of Tehran: Woman, life, freedom, an insider account of the current political uprising in Iran, written by an anonymous female activist with an introduction by Christian Lamb.