Maddy Price has made her first acquisition for W&N: a book tracing womankind's "frustrating and complex" journey through medical history. The book was bought in a "significant" pre-empt in the UK and sold in a strong six-figure deal in the US following a five-way auction.
In Dangerous, Defective and Delirious: A History of Unwell Women, feminist cultural historian Dr Elinor Cleghorn will unpack "the roots of the perpetual misunderstanding, mystification and misdiagnosis of women’s bodies".
In doing so she will cover historical ideas about women and their health, like the theory of "wandering womb" in ancient Greece, the rise of witch trials across Europe and diagnoses of female hysteria in the Victorian era, as well as looking at today’s shifting understanding of hormones, menstruation, the menopause and conditions such as endometriosis.
The book includes character studies of women who have suffered, challenged and rewritten medical orthodoxy, and touches on the author’s own experience of dismissed symptoms and misdiagnosis.
Editorial director Maddy Price bought UK and Commonwealth rights in Dangerous, Defective and Delirious: A History of Unwell Women from Emma Finn at C&W to publish in hardback in spring 2021.
Maya Ziv at Dutton triumphed in a five-way auction for the US rights in a "strong" six figure deal via Molly Atlas at ICM. German rights have sold to KiWi Verlag at auction and Spanish rights were pre-empted by Planeta. Other interest is said to be "pouring in".