Hurst Publishers has appointed Alasdair Craig as commissioning editor and revealed his first commission of 2016 – Coconuts: A Cultural History by food anthropologist Kaori O’Connor.

Craig joined Hurst in 2014 as editorial intern and was promoted to assistant editor and then assistant commissioning editor.

Michael Dwyer, m.d. and publisher of Hurst, said: “Alasdair has shown great flair and imagination in acquiring so many high quality books since joining Hurst.”

Hurst will publish Coconuts in early 2017. O’Connor’s book “follows the coconut across time and space in the wake of tides and empires and through the hands of alchemists, explorers, priests, pirates, merchants, planters, artists, performers, confectioners, cooks and scientists”. It is described as “a global saga of a romantic tree that fulfils many human needs, which shows how the coconut has emerged today as a super-food, wonder drug, bio-fuel and oil of longevity”.

Craig said: “I am thrilled to have signed such an ambitious book. It will add to Hurst’s strong backlist of colonial and global history titles, while helping us to reach new readers.”

Among Craig’s other recent commissions are God Is No Thing, an “eloquent” defence of Christianity by Rupert Shortt, religion editor of the Times Literary Supplement, and Republic of Islamophobia, a short book about the rise of Islamophobia in France by James Wolfreys, senior lecturer at King’s College London.

Craig added: “Hurst already has an incredible list, and I look forward to continuing to commission serious non-fiction that sparks debate beyond the academic world.”