In our latest edition of Endnotes, we take a look at Mania (Harper, Apr.), the latest novel from bestselling author Lionel Shriver, set in alternate 2011 where the Mental Parity Movement—which prevents discrimination against the stupid—dominates the Culture Wars and threatens the lifelong friendship of two women.

Here's how the book came together.

Lionel Shriver, Author

“I was disturbed by the 21st century’s many conformist social hysterias, differences over which lost me more than one long-term friendship. Once I’d invented my own mania—there’s no such thing as stupid—writing the book was almost effortless. My only problem writing the novel was continually bursting out laughing.”

Milan Bozic, Senior Director, Art, Harper

“The process for creating this cover was read, laugh, love! As always with a Shriver novel. Followed by hours of sketching, brooding, art researching, doubting, rereading, and finally designing something as simple as possible, yet clever and definitive.”

Kimberly Witherspoon, Literary Agent and Founding Partner, InkWell Management

“As with all of Lionel’s books, I was immediately hooked by the world she was describing. The fact that it is a world very much like but not precisely our reality makes it an especially compelling and provocative read. Gail Winston, Lionel’s longtime editor at HarperCollins, had recently retired before we submitted this manuscript. Mania is the first novel that we are publishing with Sara Nelson, Lionel’s new editor at HarperCollins.”

Sara Nelson, V-P and Executive Editor, Harper

“You know how some authors prefer their editors to fill their manuscripts with line-by-line edits? Well, Lionel is not one of those. Working with her is more like having a long, free-form, ideological discussion with a superintelligent interlocutor and friend.”