Mind Book of the Year Award 2005 winner announced
Posted Wednesday 18 May 2005
Mind Book of the Year Award 2005 goes to Siân Busby for The Cruel Mother
Powerful memoir strikes a chord with judges Fay Weldon, Blake Morrison and Michèle Roberts
"A gripping tale of madness and infanticide during the time of the Great War... Powerful and disturbing." Margaret Forster
"Siân Busby's deeply felt and well-researched book is a tale of awful enchantment." The Times
"As an exploration of the concept of "good" mothering and of the mental disturbances that have afflicted and convicted new mothers throughout history, this is a fascinating piece of work." Joanna Briscoe, The Guardian
Siân Busby has won this year's Mind Book of the Year Award for her second book, The Cruel Mother (1). Lord Melvyn Bragg, President of Mind, hosted the Mind Awards at today's ceremony (Wednesday 18 May) at Glazier's Hall on the South Bank, London, as part of Mind Week 2005.
The Mind Book of the Year judges, Fay Weldon, Blake Morrison and Michèle Roberts, were struck by the personal nature of this memoir that simultaneously combines the objectivity of reportage with the lyric richness of fiction.
In the summer of 1919 Beth Wood gave birth to triplets. One of the babies died at birth and eleven days later Beth drowned the surviving twins in a bathtub. Beth Wood was Siân Busby's great-grandmother, and this painful event in her family history gave rise to fears and anxieties that plagued Siân's own life. Writing The Cruel Mother was her way of exploring the past to come to terms with the present. The book is part memoir, part social history, and shows us the changing attitudes to post-natal depression and women's mental health over the last century.
The Cruel Mother beat over 90 entries to be selected as this year's greatest literary contribution to furthering the public's understanding of mental distress. Blake Morrison, who presented the award to Siân, said today:
"The Cruel Mother isn't only a gripping journey into private family history,
its researches into post-natal depression, infanticide and the treatment of
mental illness have lessons for us all. Yes, the subject matter might sound
heavy, but Sian Busby's tenderness and lightness of touch never desert her. It's an outstanding book."
Siân Busby, author of the highly acclaimed A Wonderful Little Girl (Short Books, 2003), is also a film-maker, scriptwriter and digital artist. She lives in north London with her husband and two sons.
Notes to editors:
(1) The Cruel Mother by Siân Busby was published in 2004 by Short Books at £9.99 ISBN 1-904095-71-2.
Wednesday's ceremony also includes the presentation of the Mind Journalist of the Year and the Mind Champion of the Year awards.
This week is Mind week, which has seen the launch of a major new report by Mind entitled Stress and mental health in the workplace.