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Missing acknowledgments

For unaccountable reasons, some of the acknowledgments in Nine Pints, UK edition, were cut off. Here is the full version. Apologies to people who are missing in the print edition; it will be corrected for the next printing or paperback.


This book grew out of The Big Necessity, my book on sanitation. After it was published, I began to be asked to write about periods, decided I wanted to write about them in more depth, and then broadened that idea into a book about all sorts of aspects of blood, because how could I not, once I started looking into it? This made sense, except that I found myself writing about a topic that required me to understand medicine, science, history, culture, religion, philosophy and much more, while having barely any background in medicine or science. I have needed a lot of help, and have received it from many quarters. I hope I remember to acknowledge everyone I should, but if not, my apologies and thanks.

For answering endless questions and providing tours of blood labs, I thank David Bowen and Julian Barth of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust; Anne Weaver, Karim Brohi, and others at the Royal London Hospital trauma department and London’s Air Ambulance, including the three HEMS staff who allowed me to accompany their night shift around London in a fast car. This episode didn’t make it into the book because, thankfully, no-one was profoundly injured. It was a pleasure sharing a near-midnight feast with you while alarming other diners with urgently orange uniforms.

I am grateful to Anurag Maloo, who interpreted for me in the corridors of Delhi hospitals (and also gave a pint of his blood for the first time); Laurence Hamburger and Stink TV for providing a last-minute home in Cape Town, and Colin Clay, for his obliging hospitality and research skills in Saskatoon. Many people in many press departments have answered my questions with patience. Particular thanks to Stephen Bailey of NHSBT, the London office of MSF, who arranged my Khayelitsha trip, and all the MSF staff in Khayelitsha who hosted me, as well as Laura Crowley and colleagues of WaterAid, who have answered many questions about periods. Thanks also to AABB for promptly answering such queries as, “but how do you know it’s every two seconds?” with prompt yet authoritative numerical breakdowns.

For enabling various parts of my research, I thank Professor Sophie Scott, Natalie Cooper, Hannah Newman and Claire Bromley. Anne Manuel, librarian of Somerville College, Oxford, obligingly granted me access to the college archives to research Janet Vaughan.

I detest transcribing ­­– who doesn’t? – so am grateful to Jane Duffus, who transcribed endless interviews that often included difficult medical terminology, with speed and skill. Dr. Margaret McCartney generously passed on my request to find doctors who might read through the manuscript, and Dr. Sarah Worboys, Dr. Pete Lowe and Dr. Diana Wetherill read through drafts. If there are still any medical errors in the book, it is my fault not theirs. Other trusted readers were Molly Mackey (also known as Percy Oliver’s biggest fan), Thomas Ridgway and Ruth Metzstein.

My agents Erin Malone and Siobhan O’Neill at William Morris Endeavor are unfailingly superb at what they do: attentive, caring, and as talented at managing yet another bout of panic as they are at sourcing inspirational Playmobile operating theatres. I’m very lucky. At Portobello Books, my book has been capably edited and cared for by Laura Barber and Ka Bradley, and copy-edited by Mandy Woods with hawk-eye accuracy. The smart cover design is by James Paul Jones. Years after we began working together, I am still grateful to have landed in the peerless editing hands of Riva Hocherman at Metropolitan Books, who is as incisive and sharp as she is patient and understanding, all qualities that any author should seek in an editor. Thank you also to Grigory Tovbis, Christopher O’Connell and others at Metropolitan for their editing, copy-editing and production skills. The excellent bloody cover of the Metropolitan edition was designed by Nicolette Seeback.

Two years ago, I was diagnosed as peri-menopausal. I’ve got my medication figured out now, more or less, but it has been a rocky road and I have lost many days to debilitating depression. Authors writing books are tricky enough; authors going through the menopause writing books are trickier. So I thank again all my editors and agents, who – once I dared to tell the truth about why I couldn’t sometimes work – were extremely kind and compassionate. My best coping mechanism has been running in the fells so I’m grateful for the company and encouragement of all my fell-running friends and club-mates. But it’s my friends, family and partner who have dealt with the rockiness at close quarters, and they have been exceptional. Thank you to my mother Sheila Wainwright, to my siblings, nephew and nieces, and to Neil “Braveshorts” Wallace for his love, support and company off and on the hills. Finally, I thank every phlebotomist, health-care assistant, trauma surgeon, GP and the millions of others who work for our beloved but besieged National Health Service, 70 years old this year. It is under attack so let us borrow from Janet Vaughan’s operating system. Organize, and fight.

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