Virago acquires HORMONAL by Eleanor Morgan
Senior Commissioning Editor Ailah Ahmed secured UK&C rights in Hormonal: A Journey into How Our Bodies Affect Our Minds and Why it’s Difficult to Talk About It by Eleanor Morgan from Jon Elek at United Agents. Seal Press, an imprint of Hachette US, has acquired NA rights. Virago will publish Hormonal in 2019.
In Hormonal, Eleanor will explore the links – the understood, the misunderstood and the not-yet-understood –between the female body and the female mind. She will take a look at the ways in which women’s bodies are under surveillance from the day we start our periods, and how we talk about and treat PMS: that monster within the machine of femininity, positioned as chemical dysfunction, outside of her control. She asks if these monsters in our machines could be the reason why women are thought to be 40% more likely to develop mental health issues than men, or whether we need to reframe PMS as part of our ever-evolving selves, rather than a pathology within the woman.
From birth control pills to hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and SSRI antidepressants, Eleanor will investigate how problems involving the female reproductive system are currently treated in our healthcare system, but also the ways in which that system is failing women when it comes to taking a holistic approach to our health, and what happens when women take matters into their own hands. Looking at class and privilege, public and private care, and through interviews with doctors, psychologists and other healthcare professionals, Morgan will take a comprehensive look at the ways in which women’s bodies are being medicalised and the impact this has on our understanding of ourselves and how our bodies and minds behave.
Ailah Ahmed said:
‘Eleanor wants to bring the discussion about women’s minds and bodies out in the open. I hugely admire the fact that she wants to make the conversation about hormones, mental health and wellbeing a public conversation –in workplaces, among friends and family. Too often young women are put on a path concerning their hormones, without much knowledge or choice, and with a lot of shame and guilt, and this lasts pretty much all of their lives –Eleanor wants to inform and empower women about their choices and I think Virago readers will love this book.’
Eleanor Morgan said:
‘I am utterly thrilled Virago want to publish this book. Sometimes, as women, it can feel as though we are sat at the blinking control panel for machines we don’t quite know how to work; machines that seem to be infected with some kind of hardware virus every month, changing the way we think, feel and behave. It can be scary and frustrating. With greater knowledge of what’s going on, along with better language to talk about these stigma-laden biological processes that have a massive impact on women’s mental health the world over, I really think we can be empowered to feel less scared and frustrated. In acknowledging how our biological stuff does not exist in a sociocultural vacuum – how the outside world can affect our inner worlds – I hope this book will encourage any woman who has experienced some drama related to their reproductive system (all of us, surely?) to own and accept her messy, animal self in a society that still has some funny ideas about what it means to be female.’
Eleanor Morgan is a journalist who has written and interviewed extensively for the Guardian, the Observer, The Times, the Independent, GQ, Harper’s Bazaar, Buzzfeed, Vogue and the Believer. She worked as Senior Editor at VICE UK and is now retraining as a psychologist with women’s health as a predominate research interest. Her first book Anxiety for Beginners was published in June 2016 by Bluebird (Pan Macmillan) in the UK and by HarperCollins in Canada.