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ABRAMS to Publish Famed French High-Wire Artist Philippe Petit’s Book of Knots

For Immediate Release Contact: Katrina Weidknecht
Executive Director, Publicity ABRAMS
212.229.8812 kweidknecht@abramsbooks.com

New York, NY; April 18, 2012: ABRAMS announced today that the company will publish Why Knot? How to Tie More than Sixty Ingenious, Useful, Beautiful, Life-Saving, Magical, Intriguing, and Secure Knots!, by the famed high-wire artist Philippe Petit, in spring 2013. The book was acquired by ABRAMS senior vice president and publisher Steve Tager and will be edited by Abrams editor Laura Dozier. ABRAMS holds world rights.

Why Knot? How to Tie More than Sixty Ingenious, Useful, Beautiful, Life-Saving, Magical, Intriguing, and Secure Knots! will explain how to tie more than sixty useful knots. All the knots included have been put to task during one wire walk or another; each passed the ultimate test: to hold a man's life. All of the sketches and drawings are by Petit himself, and many are beautifully wrought works of art that have been exhibited at the Clic Gallery in Soho. The book will also include photographs of Petit's major high-wire walks, with explanations of how specific knots have been put to significant use. Why Knot? comes with a little red rope—similar to the one Petit carries in his pocket at all times—that will allow readers to practice their new knot skills.

On August 7, 1974, Philippe Petit stepped out on a wire he illegally rigged between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, where he performed for nearly an hour 1,350 above the sidewalks of New York. Since then, he has been invited to walk in the skies of Paris, Tokyo, Jerusalem, Frankfurt, and New York City, where has he been an artist in residence for thirty years. His passion for learning to tie some three hundred knots can be explained by his wire walking: in all of his high-wire walks, knots are essential components, the guardian angels protecting his life in the sky.

Steve Tager, senior vice president and publisher of ABRAMS, says, "ABRAMS has a proud legacy of publishing books with the art world's greatest innovators, from Richard Avedon to Walt Disney, and we're thrilled to be adding to our list the groundbreaking—or, in this case, well-above-ground—artist Philippe Petit."

"Since age eighteen, I've been collecting knot books from all over the world and have been frustrated to see so many errors and inaccuracies," says Philippe Petit. "After years of jotting corrections in the margins, I thought it was time for me to write the perfect little book of tying. In most books, there are too many knots to use. In mine, I've carefully put together a selection of knots that are essential, simple to tie, practical, intriguing, and easy to remember. I was thrilled when Abrams proposed publishing Why Knot?, and I was more than happy as an author/illustrator to enter into an artistic collaboration with Abrams, a prestigious publisher renowned for their stunning art books."

Philippe Petit has performed on the high wire more than eighty times around the world. In addition to walking the high wire, Petit gives lectures and workshops on creativity and motivation, writes, draws, performs close-up magic, practices lock picking and eighteenth-century timber framing, plays chess, studies French wine, and was recently sighted bullfighting in Peru. Also, he has been arrested more than five hundred times . . . for street juggling! He is the subject of the 2009 Academy Award–winning documentary film Man on Wire and the main character in both Colum McCann's National Book Award winner Let the Great World Spin and the Caldecott-winning children's book The Man Who Walked Between the Towers, by Mordicai Gerstein. He is the author of To Reach the Clouds, Man on Wire, and seven other published books. In 2011, he presented Wireless!, a one-man show reflecting a lifetime of creativity.