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Sphere Acquires No. 1 Sunday Times Bestselling Author Clare Mackintosh’s Promises for Grievers

Emily Barrett, Publishing Director, Sphere, Little, Brown Book Group, has acquired world rights from Sheila Crowley at Curtis Brown to I PROMISE IT WON’T ALWAYS HURT LIKE THIS: 17 ASSURANCES ON GRIEF by Clare Mackintosh. The book will publish in hardback, ebook and audio in February 2023 alongside an unmissable publicity and marketing campaign.

This book is an accessible roadmap for lost grievers who are looking for compassion, understanding and hope – the most personal and emotional book yet from the No. 1 Sunday Times bestselling fiction author Clare Mackintosh. When Clare lost her five-week-old son 17 years ago, she searched for help in books. All of them wanted to tell her what she should be feeling and when she should be feeling it, but the truth – as she soon found out – is that there are no neat, labelled stages for grief, or crash grief-diets to relieve us of our pain. What we need when we’re grieving is time and understanding. This is the book she needed then.

The book was inspired by a thread Clare wrote on Twitter on the anniversary of her son’s death in 2020; she shared promises for those newly going through grief which made 19 million impressions and had over a quarter of a million engagements. People commented and shared from as far and wide as the United States, India and Eastern Europe.

With 17 short assurances that are full of compassion – drawn from Clare’s experiences of losing her son and her father – this book is something people can buy loved ones who are suffering through grief when they don’t know what else to say. And it’s for mourners who need something to turn to when they can barely concentrate, when they’re looking for solace, when they’re looking for hope, when they simply need to throw something across the floor, and when they need somebody to assure them, and keep assuring them: I PROMISE IT WON’T ALWAYS HURT LIKE THIS.



‘There have been several successful books on the subject of grief in the past few years, but this book is truly one of a kind. It’s written with the needs of the person grieving in mind by someone who’s been on the frontline herself and understands how overwhelming, exhausting and earth-shattering grief can be. It’s been an emotional experience working with Clare on something that is of course so personal to her, but I feel very lucky to have watched her put her writing talents to such good use, having been jealous of my fiction colleagues for so long! This is a beautiful book and I am positive it’s going to help a great many people. All of us at Sphere and Little, Brown are incredibly proud to be helping Clare bring this important book to market in early 2023.’


‘I have always written about grief through the filter of fiction, with a layer of protection between my own experiences and the reader. It has been challenging, and at times uncomfortable, to explore my personal journey through grief, but I feel strongly that recovery begins with a conversation. The collective outpouring of grief caused by the pandemic, and by current global events, will endure for generations – we have never needed to talk about loss more than we do now.’


‘I am always inspired by Clare’s storytelling through her exceptional novels, and her personal book on grief is one I will be buying as a supportive gift, for many years to come. It has been a special journey working with Emily Barrett at Little, Brown and Emily Harris at Curtis Brown on this project.’

About Clare Mackintosh:

Clare is the multi-award winning author of five Sunday Times bestselling novels. Translated in forty languages, her books have sold more than two million copies worldwide, have been New York Times and international bestsellers and have spent a combined total of 64 weeks in the Sunday Times bestseller chart. Clare lives in North Wales with her husband and their three children.

Twitter: @ClareMackint0sh