The Borough Press has bought a collection of 12 stories based on the real lived experience of people who have faced mental illness in the UK, conceived and edited by Joanna Cannon.
Suzie Dooré, publishing director, signed world rights in the anthology Will you Read This, Please? in a deal with Sue Armstrong at C&W. The anthology will be published in October 2022.
Working in collaboration with the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Cannon and The Borough Press is inviting mental health service users to tell their story in Will You Read This, Please?, and will choose 12 stories to feature in the collection. Each storyteller will be paired with an experienced author who will help tell their story in their own words. The piece produced will be included in the collection and will be edited by Cannon who is a former doctor of psychiatry. Each contributor will be paid an advance of £1,000 and one twelfth of subsequent royalties.
Cannon said: "Working on this book with the brilliant team at Borough Press is a dream come true for me. As a junior doctor, I learned far more from talking to service users than I ever did in a lecture theatre. The voice of lived experience is the most valuable of all, and I feel incredibly privileged to be in a position where I can now help those voices reach a wider audience, not only to address the stigma and isolation of living with mental illness—and the huge challenges it brings—but as examples of the strength and resilience of the human spirit."
Dooré added: "This project started when I saw Jo musing on Twitter that it would be great to pair mental health service users with established writers to help them tell their stories. I have never typed an email faster than the one I sent to her saying ‘let’s do it.' We are so looking forward to pairing these storytellers with authors and reading the pieces they produce together–this is going to be such an important and fascinating book, and Jo is the perfect person to take the helm."
Cannon is the author of The Trouble with Goats and Sheep (The Borough Press), which sold 214,959 copies in paperback and 23,332 in hardback via Nielsen BookScan and Three Things About Elsie (The Borough Press). In total Cannon has sold 378,544 books for £2.23m.
Submissions open on 1st December 2021 and close on 7th February 2022. Entries can be made by sending a completed entry form to email@example.com. For terms and conditions, click here.