Wildfire has acquired Who Cares, a "ground-breaking" book on non-professional care work by writer, activist and former policy advisor Emily Kenway.
Inspired by Kenway's own experience caring for her mother before she passed away in September 2020, Who Cares will be a "bold and powerful mix of memoir, radical polemic and deeply researched investigative reportage about carers and caring in today's society".
The publisher explains: "Non-professional care is much more prevalent than its professional counterpart but is widely overlooked, despite the fact that it will affect almost all of us at some point in our lives. One in eight people in the UK are estimated to be informal carers; of these, 1.3 million people provide more than 50 hours of care per week – more than a full-time job. Their work saves the UK economy about £132bn a year, yet their contribution to society remains largely unacknowledged and unsupported... Who Cares will seek to ask questions about the ways we view care, work, community, family, technology, and how we might reorganise our societies as we all get older."
Senior commissioning editor Ella Gordon bought UK and Commonwealth rights at auction from Matt Turner at Rogers, Coleridge & White. Wildfire will publish Who Cares as a lead non-fiction hardback launch in spring 2023. North American rights were acquired by senior editor Emma Berry at Seal Press, who will publish simultaneously.
Gordon said: "So many will be all too aware of the painful realities of caring for loved ones; yet it’s not a subject we have been willing to confront as a society, which is to all our detriment and unsustainable in the long term. For Emily to have gone through what she has, and to have channelled that grief into an eye-opening, moving and authoritative piece of work that could change our lives for the better, is pretty humbling. I am so glad this book will exist: we need it."
Kenway commented: "Informal carers are behind closed doors on every street, yet their voices are unheard. Caring is one of the hardest experiences imaginable, and it is unsurprising that carers today have high rates of depression, anxiety and loneliness, are often financially struggling and feel forgotten by society.
"My time as a carer and the stories shared with me by others have made me acutely aware how vital it is that we reshape society with care at its heart. I hope that by telling my story and others’, this book will provoke thought and spur change so that, in the future, no one has to struggle like carers are today."
Kenway is the author of The Truth about Modern Slavery, published by Pluto Press in January this year.