Disaster expert professor Lucy Easthope’s memoir has gone to Hodder & Stoughton following an eight-way auction.
Non-fiction publisher Kirty Topiwala acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, from Jo Unwin at JULA in “a passionately fought” bidding war.
When the Dust Settles: Stories of Love, Loss and Hope from an Expert in Disaster will be published in March 2022 as Hodder’s lead non-fiction title and will be supported by a major PR and marketing campaign.
Hodder said: “Easthope is one of the world’s leading authorities on recovering from disaster. She has been an advisor on nearly every major disaster of the past two decades, from the 2004 Tsunami to the 7/7 bombings, the Salisbury poisonings, the Grenfell fire and most recently has been advising the Prime Minister’s Office on the Covid-19 pandemic. When a plane crashes, a bomb explodes, a city floods or a pandemic begins, she’s the one they call. Lucy has travelled across the world in her highly unusual role, seeing the very worst that people have to face and showing that, with care and compassion, we can rebuild from the ashes."
The blurb to When the Dust Settles reads: “She takes us behind the police tape to scenes of destruction and chaos, introducing us to victims and their families, but also to the government briefing rooms and bunkers, where confusion and stale biscuits can reign supreme. She looks back at her own life spent on the edges of disaster—from a Liverpudlian childhood steeped in the Hillsborough tragedy to the many losses and loves of her career. With wisdom, resilience and candour, When the Dust Settles shows us that, where there is terrible tragedy there is also great hope, and that humanity and humour can still be found on the darkest of days.”
Easthope grew up in Liverpool and has a degree in law, a PhD in medicine and a Masters in risk, crisis and disaster management. She is a professor in practice of risk and hazard at the University of Durham and fellow in mass fatalities and pandemics at the University of Bath's Centre for Death and Society.
“I’m so pleased to be able to finally share the news about Lucy’s extraordinary memoir,” Topiwala said. "Lucy’s perspective and experience is obviously unique and fascinating, but I was blown away by her writing voice, which is vivid, fierce and frequently hilarious. She finds such humanity and hope in tragedy. Books don’t often make me cry but this one has, multiple times.”
Easthope commented: “When I started to work with Jo Unwin we talked about a book that covered 25 years of planning for—and recovery from—disasters and pandemics. I had no idea when I started to write how mainstream and relevant my stories would become. I’ve poured everything into writing this book and I am thrilled to be working with Hodder and Kirty on bringing these stories out into the world.”
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