'Now We Have Your Attention' - New Book Out In September 2019

A major new book exploring Britain's political pandemonium from a radically different angle - published by The Bodley Head and Vintage Books

- Released September 2019
- Available now

“This book is a journey across a country in crisis, although not the one we usually read about in the papers or hear about on the news.”

After decades of institutional stasis, our politics is in flux. Shock election results, constitutional chaos, new parties, new leaders and new governments fill the airwaves, while the pundits we traditionally rely upon to navigate the political terrain on our behalf are throwing up their hands in confusion. Most commentators continue to fixate on the personalities and parlour-games at Westminster - the earthquakes and volcanoes on the surface - rather than asking how and why the tectonic plates beneath are shifting so dramatically. To understand the roots of our current chaos, and the fierce struggles over what will emerge from it, a different approach is urgently needed.

'Now We Have Your Attention: The New Politics Of The People' is an alternative map of the tumult. From Essex to Newcastle and Kensington to Manchester, from a dank club night in Brighton to a shabby shop-front in Glasgow, almost four hundred miles north, it travels deep into the lived experiences of individuals and communities right across the country to uncover the ways in which the old politics is falling apart, and the spaces in which rival futures are being fought for. With exceptional access to some of the UK’s most exciting and dynamic new political movements, it reveals how the collapse of a paradigm that has structured our world for forty years fuelling political engagement of a completely different sort: local, personal, effective and utterly fearless.

Published in September 2019 by The Bodley Head and Vintage Books, 'Now We Have Your Attention' is available to order now in hardback, e-book and audiobook from Amazon, Waterstones, The Hive, or your local independent bookshop. For reviews, events and extracts, see below.


Critical praise for 'Now We Have Your Attention'

"One of the most important and compelling books I've ever read, by one of Britain's most gifted writers. If you want to understand why we are in this crisis, listen to the voices all too often airbrushed from the political conversation" (Owen Jones)

"Jack Shenker’s diligently reported and elegantly written book not only describes how the calamity of Britain today was long in the making... Ignoring the clamorous dirges of mainstream journalism, it outlines a future about which one can reasonably feel hope" (Pankaj Mishra)

"An exploration of a nation in distress, touching on many of the key fractures that have opened in British society [and] the energy and vision of activists seeking to build something different... skilfully compiled through the first-hand stories of the protagonists [and] told with great sensitivity and empathy... [George Packer’s] The Unwinding is the closest comparison. Shenker is an excellent guide and an elegant writer... If our political elites had shown some of his curiosity towards everyday struggles across Britain, and some of his compassion towards the strugglers, we wouldn’t have reached this pass in the first place" (William Davies, The Guardian)

"Shenker contrasts a sclerotic political class with what is organically emerging — a 'fierce and liberatory engagement with the way that power, money and privilege mould our lives'... It is a compelling argument [and] also a significant democratic intervention: to contrast a bankrupt politics with a 'tired, wired and hopeful' generation alive and politically liberated" (Jon Cruddas, Prospect)

"With scrupulous probing and sensitive interpretation, this penetrating inquiry lays bare the malaise of deindustrialization and austerity in Britain... The picture that unfolds is shocking, but also inspiring, with rays of hope that a better future may be within reach" (Noam Chomsky)



Events 2019

Edinburgh Books Festival, Edinburgh - 'Implosion of the Old Politics': Jack Shenker in conversation with Ece Temelkuran and Heather Parry
Saturday 24th August, 12.30pm. More details here

RSA, London - 'Inside the New Politics': Jack Shenker in conversation with Adanna Shallowe
Thursday 12th September, 1pm. More details here

Waterstones Piccadilly, London - 'Now We Have Your Attention: An evening with Jack Shenker and Ellie Mae O’Hagan'
Thursday 10th October, 7pm. More details here

University of Cambridge - 'Children of the interregnum: political imagination in Egypt, Britain and beyond'
Thursday 17th October, 5pm. More details here

National Liberal Club, London - 'The New Politics of the People - with Jack Shenker'
Monday 28th October, 7pm. More details here

Left Book Club Hackney, London - 'Now We Have Your Attention'
Wednesday 6th November, 7pm. More details here

Partisan Collective, Manchester
Thursday 7th November - details TBA

Stroud Literary Festival, Stroud
Saturday 9th November, 8.30pm. More details here

LSE Department of Government, London - 'The New Politics of the People, with Jack Shenker and Dr Florian Foos'
Thursday 14th November, 6.30pm. More details here

Tower Hamlets Writeidea Festival, London
Saturday 16th November, 5.30pm. More details here

The People's Republic of Stokes Croft, Bristol
Thursday 21 November - details TBA

Topping, Bath - Jack Shenker on 'Now We Have Your Attention: The New Politics of the People'
Tuesday 26th November, 8pm. More details here

TASC, Dublin
Thursday 5th December, details TBA


Media coverage and online links

Publisher videos - A Vintage trailer for the book can be seen online here and a longer interview with Jack about its main themes is embedded above, and on YouTube here.

Extracts and articles - An exclusive extract from the third chapter of the book, exploring how labour resistance is adapting to our changing economy, was published as the cover story for the Guardian's Review supplement in September 2019 and can be read here. Jack's Guardian opinion piece, laying out some of the key arguments of the book and the need for us to rethink what politics means, is online here, and an op-ed for The Big Issue on a similar subject is available here.

Talks and interviews - Jack's talk at the RSA entitled 'Inside the New Politics' is now available in full online here, and a short introduction can be seen here. Jack's in-depth interview about the book with James Butler of Novara Media can be heard here.


Reviews of Jack's previous book, 'The Egyptians: A Radical Story'


Meticulous, carefully researched and passionately argued... ‘The Egyptians’ is not just about the revolution, it is an act within it (Ahdaf Soueif, Guardian)

Inspirational... [Shenker's] analysis is acutely clear-sighted, given the chaos of recent events. The book mixes a hawk's eye view of the forces of global capitalism as applied to Egypt with a vivid worm's eye view of what it is like to be caught up in a revolution. This is a passionate book, but not an unbalanced one... it tells stories that need to be told, and which have been widely ignored (George Arney, Independent)

Truly astonishing... painstakingly researched, moving, engaging and engaged, the most articulate and comprehensive account of the revolution I have read to date... ‘The Egyptians’ is a must read for anyone who wants to understand how and why Egypt's revolution happened – and why it continues. (Mariam Ali, Open Democracy)

Jack Shenker pulls no punches in his examination of the post-Nasser Egyptian establishment and its venal and murderous ways... It is stirring stuff, compellingly reported and powered by a tenacious empathy for the underdog in a country where the rich have taken - in many cases plundered - almost everything from under the noses of the poor... (Justin Marozzi, Sunday Times)

The real story [of Egypt's revolution] is more confused and more complicated, and, as Shenker presents it in this detailed, meticulous and fascinating book, more hopeful... A historical long view is just one of the things that makes this book stand out (Anthony Sattin, Observer)

Shenker has written what amounts to a contemporary history of injustice … Shenker is a sensitive interlocutor, and the people-stories he relates comprise a stirring mise en valeur of a struggle for human dignity of unsung depth and dimension (Maria Golia, Times Literary Supplement)