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Earlier this year, our partners Penguin Random House UK published 'Dear Stranger', a collection of letters from a range of authors to an imagined stranger on the theme of happiness, all in aid of Mind.

They also helped us launch our membership creative writing competition, where we asked members to submit a piece of creative writing on the theme of hope. We had some incredible entires, and we're absolutely delighted to announce that the winner is... Louise! 

To celebrate, Penguin Random House UK have added her incredible letter to the Dear Stranger ebook - now on sale for only £9. 

We sat down with Louise after she won to talk about her writing, why she started and what it means to her to have won. The full interview will appear in the January edition of Mind News, but you can read a sneak peek below. 

Introducing Louise, our competition winner...

On how she feels about winning...

I’m over the moon and quite shocked to win. It’s really great, I feel quite lucky. I’m just really, really pleased. 

I found out on my birthday. My little boy was off school sick, so my birthday plans had changed quite a lot. I just had a really lazy, quiet day with him, then at about 4.30 I checked my emails, and I couldn’t believe what I saw. 

On why she started writing after her brothers death...

Going back to when my brother died, which was in 2011, for six months after that I began to realise that the way I was expressing myself best was by writing things down… I could express myself in way that I couldn’t do verbally at that point. It was a bit of a light bulb moment; I realised that writing things was quite therapeutic. 

On how writing helps...

Sometimes the way I express myself while writing, if I was to say the same words out loud, it might seem a bit contrived, a bit over the top. But I find I can express things more with language written down. I can express thought processes and describe the actual emotions I’m feeling – rather than just talking about being sad or happy. 

On what would have helped her cope...

It doesn’t matter if you say the wrong thing; it’s just about acknowledging what’s happened. What is helpful is often to just be available. Even if that just means sending a text saying ‘I’m still thinking of you’, it will make such a difference. It can seem like the tiniest action, but I’d like people to understand the enormity of what those small actions can mean. 

 

Buy the ebook

Caitlin Moran contributor

Richard Branson contributor

Richard Branson - Dear Stranger contributor

Fiona Phillips contributor

Fiona Philips - Dear Stranger contributor

Dear Stranger...

Earlier this year, our partners Penguin Random House UK published 'Dear Stranger', a collection of letters from a range of authors to an imagined stranger on the theme of hope and happiness, all in aid of Mind.

They also helped us launch our membership creative writing competition, where we asked members to submit a piece of creative writing on the theme of hope. We had some incredible entires, and we're absolutely delighted to announce that the winner is... Louise! 

To celebrate, Penguin Random House UK have added her incredible letter to the Dear Stranger ebook - now on sale for only £9. 

We sat down with Louise after she won to talk about her writing, why she started and what it means to her to have won. The full interview will appear in the January edition of Mind News, but you can read a sneak peek below. 

 

Going back to when my brother died, for six months after that I began to realise that the way I was expressing myself best was by writing things down…

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