Sunday Express editor Martin Townsend wins Mind Book of the Year Award 2008
Posted Thursday 15 May 2008
Mental health charity Mind has announced today that Sunday Express Editor Martin Townsend has won this year's Mind Book of the Year Award for his book 'The father I had' (1), a courageous and moving personal account of growing up with a parent affected by mental distress.
'The father I had' presents a vivid first-hand portrait of the trials, fears and joys of growing up with a father diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Told from the vantage point of a young boy struggling to make sense of his father's illness, Townsend tracks the often humorous highs and harrowing lows of the every day events that test the heart of a very ordinary, working class-family. Surpassing the heartache and humiliations, The father I had is the also the story of the strength and depth of mutual love between father and son.
Mind Book of the Year judges, Fay Weldon, Blake Morrison and Michele Roberts read over 100 books for this year's contest, including books from celebrated authors Chris Paling and A. M. Holmes.
Judge Michèle Roberts said: "The entrants get better every year. More and more, publishers are recognising the importance of the Mind prize."
"The winner is a very honest and compassionate book, dealing with an extraordinary father-son relationship, which involves keeping secrets, personal weaknesses and vulnerability - in some ways, it reads like a thriller. Bipolar disorder is not much talked about; we feel the timing of this book is important."
On winning the award, Martin Townsend said: "I am absolutely delighted to accept this highly prestigious award, particularly in view of the outstanding quality of all the books on the shortlist."
"I would like to thank the judges, my editors at Transworld, and I would like to dedicate the award to my father, Ron. Most of all I would like to express my utmost admiration for Mind and all the valuable work they do in the challenging world of mental distress."
Martin Townsend has been a journalist since 1979. He has been editor of the Sunday Express since 2001 and writes a popular weekly column, A Word From the Editor. Married with three children, he lives in West London. This is his first book.
Awards were also presented for Mind Journalist of the Year - which went to Society Guardian journalist Mary O'Hara and Mind Student Journalist of the Year - which was awarded to Huw Davies of the University of Cardiff newspaper Gair Rhydd for his article on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder - and Mind Champion of the year - which went to Dr Liz Miller for her continuing work in the field of mental health, including founding a self-help group for doctors.
The Mind Awards are part of Mind Week, which this year focuses on debt and mental distress. Mind's new report In the red: debt and mental health shows that debt is a significant factor in worsening our mental health and people living with mental health problems are almost three times more likely to be in debt.
1. 'The father I had' was published in 2007 by Bantam Press, priced £14.99