A win for all people with dementia

Released 21 January 2016

My book, What the hell happened to my brain?: Living beyond dementia was published recently in German. Whilst I was happy the rights were bought for it to be translated into German, I was very unhappy with the image they used on the cover, without my knowledge or consent. The image they chose was of someones face, covered up by a balloon, as if we are faceless. With that cover, it instantly increased the myths, stigma and discrimination of dementia, due to it making me (not an actual picture of me) appear ashamed of having dementia and being ‘faceless’. 

People with dementia ARE NOT FACELESS… 

I am very happy to report that the German publisher has agreed to recall all copies off this book a,d reprint it with either the image used on my original book providing they can gain consent from the owner of the image, and they will send a draft to me to make sure I am also happy with the cover of my book.

This is the letter I received from Jessica Kingsley Publishers this morning, who wrote to me to inform me of this decision. I want to thank everyone for sending your own feedback to the German publisher about how it also offended you, and to thank you for your love and support. This is a win for all people with dementia, and the late Dr Richard Taylor would be proud of us all for speaking up about it.

Please note, it is also very clear a petition is not needed now, and we do not need to comment further online other to thank my English and German Publishers for ensuring the book is being recalled and destroyed, and the cover is being changed.

The following is a portion of the letter received by email early today said:

Dear Kate,

Hogrefe have confirmed to me this morning that they’ll collect all stock, destroy it, and reprint their edition of your book with your photo on the cover…

Hogrefe will send me a proof pdf of their new cover before it goes to print, and I’ll forward it to you for approval.

Meanwhile, I respectfully request that any further questions you might have about this matter are addressed to me, and not directly to Hogrefe. On one of your emails to Hogrefe you’ve mentioned that an online petition was created regarding the cover image – I again respectfully request that that doesn’t proceed any further, as the issue has now been resolved.

I hope this solution is acceptable for you.

It is very acceptable to me, and is a win for all people with dementia. A special thank you to Hogrefe Publishers for agreeing to my request, which I must make clear, they were under no legal obligation to do so. 

There was a lot of discussion about it on social media, and in particular others living with a diagnosis of dementia also believed it to be disrespectful, and that it represented we are ashamed, and are faceless. We [people with dementia] are not faceless, and that image completely misrepresented me and my writings. A great many of us interpreted the image they chose as discriminating and degrading and the balloon be just a bad joke – I am so overwhelmed to have had a win for all people with dementia that I got out of bed at 5am to write this blog, the one day I had the opportunity to have a sleep in this week!
Ps. I have not included the image that was used on the book, as it is truly too upsetting, so I apologise if this blog makes little sense without it. 

20 thoughts on “A win for all people with dementia

  1. This incident just goes to show how much your book is needed in this world. And how many people STILL believe dementia to be faceless. Good on you for standing up to it. This is what advocacy is (to paraphrase a well-known author!). Jan (not Alan).


    • Thanks Jan… that cover upset a lot of people, not just me, including family members of people with dementia, members of the general community, academics and professionals, and I am delighted it is being taken off the market to be replaced with a cover that shows my face. It is a WIN for everyone. The publisher being willing to do so, even though under no legal obligation to respect my wishes, shows their real concern and care for people with dementia.


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