BT Mind Book of the Year 2007 awarded to Michele Hanson for 'Living With Mother - Right To The Very End'
Posted Thursday 17 May 2007
Mental health charity Mind announced at its annual award ceremony yesterday that Michele Hanson has won this year's BT Mind Book of the Year Award for her autobiographical work Living With Mother - Right To The Very End (1), an uproariously funny and moving account of Hanson's experiences caring for her elderly mother.
Gathered from her Guardian columns, Michele Hanson writes with honesty and candour about the day to day comedies and trials of living with her mother as she changes from a vibrant woman to a frail and bedridden, but still formidable, old lady. Leaving no stone unturned, Hanson describes with humour how family relationships are put to the test in the daily struggle to remain positive against all the odds, producing a book that strikes a balance between tragedy and comedy. Unusually, the book also includes a piece from Hanson's daughter, who tells the story of living with her grandmother from her own perspective.
Mind Book of the Year judges, Fay Weldon, Blake Morrison and Michele Roberts, were struck by the humour with which Hanson presents the difficult and often undervalued role of the carer, showing that human beings in the direst circumstances are still able to make jokes.
Judge Michele Roberts said: "Carers are often an unsung and uncelebrated group. This book faces the issues head on with sensitivity and humour. It is rare to read a book about mental distress that makes you roar with laughter."
Living With Mother beat 120 entries to be chosen as this year's greatest literary contribution to furthering public understanding of mental distress.
On winning the award, Michele Hanson said: "Winning this award was a big surprise and a great honour. More people are taking on a caring role and I hope they will be able to keep on laughing through the difficult times."
Michele Hanson writes short stories and is a journalist. Her acclaimed Guardian column, recording the trials of her teenage daughter, Treasure, have been collected into two books, Treasure and What Treasure Did Next. She has also written for Good Housekeeping, Mail on Sunday and Daily Express Saturday magazine. She lives in London.
(1) Living With Mother - Right To The Very End was published in 2006 by Virago Press at £9.99 (ISBN 1-84408-384-5)