A “powerful debut memoir”, about a publisher caring for her schizophrenic father, will be published by 4th Estate.
The Fragments of my Father by Dodo Ink's publisher Sam Mills follows the journey of caring for her father who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, and is interspersed with the stories of three carers from the literary world. The book also explores the relationship between madness and class.
UK and Commonwealth rights for the debut memoir were acquired by Helen Garnons-Williams, publishing director at the HarperCollins imprint, from Will Francis at Janklow & Nesbit.
Mills, also a novelist and essayist, triangulates her own experience with the stories of three carers in the literary world whom she admires. She features Leonard Woolf, husband to Virginia, through which explores “the balance between freedom and control that many carers have to face”; Emily Dickinson, who cared for her mother in the final months of her life; and John Bayley, who looked after Iris Murdoch who had dementia.
The title is described as a “powerful memoir about being a carer, about how hard it can become to sustain relationships and keep promises and construct the story of your own life when someone else is relying entirely on you for their wellbeing”.
Three of Mills’ YA novels have been published by Faber. She is also the author of The Quiddity of Will Self (Corsair). She launched indie publisher Dodo Ink in 2015 with reviewer Thom Cuell and digital marketer Alex Spears.
"Helen Garnons-Williams is a dream editor who publishes many writers I admire,” she said. “I hope that my memoir will bring inspiration and succour to carers everywhere."
Garnons-Williams described the book as “an important and deeply moving book, and one we are thrilled to be publishing at 4th Estate”.
She said: “Sam's beautifully written, timely memoir will resonate with so many readers who find themselves in a similar situation, as well as with anyone who can see themselves caring for a loved one further down the line. The stories of Woolf, Dickinson and Bayley, woven between Sam's own story as she explores the history of - and the social questions behind - caring make for a richly-textured, agenda-setting read.”