Eliot Higgins' book will be 'not only a triumphant personal story, but also one with practical, inspiring applications for us all'
Bloomsbury has signed a work of non-fiction by journalist Eliot Higgins, whose investigative website Bellingcat identified the suspects behind the Skripal poisoning. Publishing director Alexis Kirschbaum signed UK and Commonwealth rights at auction from Natasha Fairweather at Rogers, Coleridge & White. Rights have also gone in Poland and the Netherlands, with sales underway in other territories.
The book will tell the story of how Higgins, a college dropout with a passion for playing online games from his home in Leicester, became the founder of a platform "at the helm of open-source journalism". Bellingcat's investigations have also uncovered Russian involvement in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, and the sourcing of weapons in the Syrian Civil War. Bloomsbury will publish in 2020.
Higgins said: "I have been on a mission since the day I founded Bellingcat to show ordinary people like me that they have the power - using just the smart phone in their hand - to expose murderers, liars and cheats through open-source reporting. It's an ongoing adventure and I'm very excited that Alexis Kirschbaum and the good people of Bloomsbury will publish this book and help turn us all into citizen journalists."
Kirschbaum said: "I am thrilled to be publishing Eliot Higgins' extraordinary book, which promises to be not only a triumphant personal story, but also one with practical, inspiring applications for us all. At a time when wariness of the Internet is at a peak, the book's primary message is of empowerment: about how the digital future can be harnessed in the interests of an open society, rather than monopolised by the powerful."