Pavilion Books owner and publisher Polly Powell has written a book to raise money for charity Prevent Breast Cancer, after having the illness herself. Powell, who is now recovered, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017 and underwent six months of chemotherapy during treatment.
Prevent Breast Cancer has a research programme that looks at the causal links between lifestyle factors, such as diet and alcohol, and your chances of developing the disease.
"I was very aware that this industry employs more women than men and that one in nine women will develop the disease, so I felt a duty of care to my profession," Powell said, of her fundraising venture. "I also have two children [now 26 and 24] of whom I am inordinately proud, and [when I became ill] I was faced with the reality to get on and tell them everything I hadn't told them."
The resulting book, 50 Things I Wish I'd Told You: Life Skills, a gifty hardback at £9.99, offers advice on 50 essential life skills, from how to get out of a bad date to the way to iron a shirt perfectly. "I don't want to be preachy - it's also how to make the best martini," says Powell. "It's for those leaving home, or setting up home, for the first time."
50p from the sale of each book will go to charity, and Powell - who also plans a pan-publishing fundraising initiative in October, Breast Cancer Month, and is fundraising via a justgiving page- has a £50,000 fundraising target.
Meanwhile Powell says she will be encouraging all her women staff members to have regular breast cancer scans. "I have become aware of many senior publishers and agents who have had it. It really is a matter of life and death as to how quickly the illness is caught," she said.
"But a lot of people feel not able to talk about it. I have very much taken the illness in my stride, I have carried on working, and I don't want people to look at me and say, 'Shes the ill one', - I'm not. But it does change you. I can totally understand how people would want to keep it secret. People might feel an admission might jeopardise their career."