Virago is publishing an intimate exploration of miscarriage, mixing memoir with stories from the consulting room, history and science, by British psychotherapist Julia Bueno.
Sarah Savitt, publisher at Virago, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights at auction in The Brink of Being: Portraits of Miscarriage, from Carrie Plitt at Felicity Bryan Associates. Lindsey Schwoeri at Penguin US has meanwhile acquired US rights on an exclusive submission. Publication is planned for Spring 2019.
The book is described by Virago as "a much-needed, comprehensive look at an experience that is unfortunately all too common" - noting one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage - "yet still considered taboo".
Bueno’s book will also engage with questions around how we respond to women’s bodies and reproductive health, our attitudes to birth and death, and how both technology and science impact upon these questions too. It will be "a campaigning book", encouraging more conversations and better support for those who have been affected by miscarriage.
The author draws on personal experience. Her first miscarriage when she was 30-years-old, twins that were born too early, and three more miscarriages at different stages of pregnancy. Following these experiences, she re-trained as a therapist, specialising in pregnancy loss, and also became a trustee for the Miscarriage Association. She is currently pursuing a clinical doctorate, researching the lived experience of miscarriage.
Bueno said: "The Brink of Being emerges from my frustration that miscarriage continues to be a misunderstood experience. I hope it may deepen our thinking about the most common adverse experience in pregnancy, and encourages more open conversations about pregnancy loss and infertility generally. I am honoured to be working with Sarah Savitt, who immediately understood my ideas and the book."
Savitt said it would be an "important" work. "When I shared this proposal with my colleagues, I had the most incredible responses: there is a real need for this book and Julia Bueno is the perfect person to write it. She has deep and varied experiences to draw on but crucially she is an astonishingly talented writer, with a gift for combining intimacy and intellect," she said. "Virago is proud to be publishing what will be an important book."