Chatto & Windus has acquired “a ground-breaking and controversial book” on psychosomatic disorders by neurologist Dr Suzanne O’Sullivan.
Deputy publishing director Becky Hardie—who is also editor of Man Booker-shortlisted We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo and Guardian First Book Award-shortlisted Sex and the Citadel by Shereen El Feki—acquired world rights all languages for It’s All In Your Head in a pre-empt from Kirsty McLachlan at David Godwin Associates.
During her 20-year career Dr O’Sullivan has regularly seen patients whose medical complaints cannot be explained by any physical disease.
Through a series of case studies interwoven with medical science and history, It’s All In Your Head studies psychosomatic illness—the idea that physical symptoms such as seizures, blindness and paralysis can have purely psychological causes.
Dr O’Sullivan said: “The subject matter of this book is something terribly important to me and terribly delicate, but the story it tells belongs more to my patients than it does to me.
“It is wonderful that the team from Chatto shares my respect for how that story should be treated. I know that I am in safe hands as I embark on my journey from neurologist to author.”
Hardie said: “Dr Suzanne O’Sullivan's proposal touched everyone here who read it.
“Touched, in the sense that it was relevant; but also in the sense that it moved us to read about our complete failure to accept this age-old idea—that the body and mind are not separate and our emotions can and do have physical manifestations.
“As a consultant neurologist, Dr O’Sullivan is in a unique position to explain this central part of how we work. Her book will change lives.”
Chatto & Windus will publish It’s All In Your Head in 2015.