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Faber to publish intimate story of the NHS by Owen Sheers

Faber & Faber is delighted to announce the acquisition of To Provide All People, a powerful virtuosic ‘film-poem’ by the prize-winning poet, novelist and playwright, Owen Sheers.

Mitzi Angel acquired UK, EU and Commonwealth rights from Zoë Waldie at Rogers, Coleridge & White. Faber will publish in July to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the National Health Service Act’s passage into law, and the broadcast of the Vox Pictures/BBC Wales production of the same name, which will air to mark the occasion. The production’s cast includes Michael Sheen, Tamsin Grieg, Martin Freeman and Meera Syal.

To Provide All People is the intimate story of the NHS in British society today. Depicting 24 hours in the service, with a regional hospital at the centre of the action, the poem charts an emotional and philosophical map of the NHS against the personal experiences that lie at its heart; from patients to surgeons, porters to midwives. This is a world of transformative pains, triumphs, losses and celebrations that joins us all in our universal experiences of health and sickness, birth and death, regardless of race, gender or wealth.

‘Owen Sheers’ To Provide All People is a thought-provoking and profoundly moving piece of work, which both celebrates the NHS and is a rallying cry to save it before it is too late – we’re thrilled to be publishing it.’ Stephen Page, Faber Chief Executive

Based upon over seventy hours of interviews, the work is punctuated with the historical narrative of the birth of the NHS Act – from its origins in a local miners’ scheme in Tredegar in Wales, through multiple hearings, amendments and battles with the press, the BMA and the Conservative party, to its coming into effect in July 1948.

To Provide All People is a work that excavates what the NHS represents and means – on a personal and national level – and paints an authentic, tonal picture of a rare social​ ​phenomenon, illuminating with exquisite sensitivity and power why the ethos at its heart should always be protected.

Owen Sheers authorOwen Sheers is a poet, novelist and playwright. Twice-winner of the Wales Book of the Year, his books of poetry include Skirrid Hill, winner of a Somerset Maugham Award, the BAFTA-nominated​ ​The Green Hollow, and the verse drama Pink Mist, winner of the Hay Festival Poetry Medal. In 2018 he was awarded the Wilfred Owen Poetry Award. Sheers’ theatrical work includes The Two Worlds of Charlie F., winner of the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award, Mametz, and National Theatre Wales’s seventy-two hour The Passion. Chair of Wales PEN Cymru and Professor in Creativity at Swansea University, he lives in the Black Mountains of Wales with his wife and two daughters.