Wellcome Collection and Profile Books will publish An Extra Pair of Hands by Kate Mosse, her own "deeply personal" story of finding herself, in middle age, caring for her relatives.
World rights, including audio, were acquired by Wellcome Collection publisher Fran Barrie from Mark Lucas at the Soho Agency.
An Extra Pair of Hands will be part of the Wellcome Collection Life Lines series and will be published in early June 2021 to coincide with National Carers Week.
Mosse will share her experience of becoming a carer, firstly helping her "heroic" mother care for her father, then supporting her mother in her widowhood, and finally as "an extra pair of hands" for her 90-year-old mother-in-law. She will divulge the emotions and challenges of living in a multi-generational household, the need to learn patience and embrace a different pace of life, the complicated juggling of work and family and time, the repetition and confinement, the sadness, frustrations and guilt, the importance of the natural world and the joys to be found in everyday acts of love and companionship, says the publisher.
Mosse will also consider the contemporary landscape of care in a world of slashed budgets, how women are bearing the brunt of austerity in the fallout from Covid-19, as they battle to hold families of all shapes and sizes together, the pressures on carers' own health and mental wellbeing and how the language of ageing, disability and long-term illness needs to change.
Barrie commented: "An Extra Pair of Hands is not only a beautiful and heart-rending personal account, it’s also a hugely timely exploration of the role played by carers, thrown into sharp relief by the pandemic. Drawing on over a decade of caring, Kate’s nuanced, perceptive reflections make a clear case for the urgent need to truly see and support our carers — some 8.8 million people in the UK — and to challenge the inequalities in the system. We couldn’t be more excited to be publishing this important book on the Wellcome Collection list."
Mosse said: "This book is a tribute to three extraordinary people – my father, my mother and my mother-in-law. It is a celebration of older people and ageing, a story about learning to live differently, about loss and powerlessness, about landscape, about family, about grief. But most of all, it's a story about love. It is a huge honour to be published by Wellcome Collection and Profile."
Mosse is the author of novels such as The Burning Chambers (Mantle, 2018) and The Taxidermist's Daughter (Orion, 2014). Her next novel, The City of Tears, will be published by Mantle in January 2021.
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