Today Mind announces the shortlist for the Mind Book of the Year Award 2011.
Now celebrating its 30th year, this well-established literary prize celebrates writing that heightens understanding of mental health issues in all their forms.
The eight shortlisted books range in genre from memoir to fiction, and from those writing about personal experience of mental health problems to fascinating insider accounts from the daily encounters of a psychotherapist.
The shortlisted books will be judged by an expert panel including the authors Blake Morrison, Fay Weldon and Michèle Roberts. The winner of the Mind Book of the Year Award will be announced on 12 September.
Diary Drawings: Mental Illness and Me
Bobby Baker (Profile)
Well-acquainted with using unconventional methods to express her ideas, performance artist Bobby Baker’s works have included making life-size edible cake-versions of her family, dancing with meringue ladies and driving around London strapped to the back of a truck yelling at passers by through a megaphone to “pull yourself together”.
Diary Drawings is no less brilliantly inventive. A collection of 158 drawings Baker created between 1997 and 2008, the diary provides us with an astonishing insight into her struggle to overcome mental and physical ill-health.
Grace Williams Says it out Loud
Emma Henderson (Sceptre)
'And when no more could be done with Grace, they put her away aged eleven…' Emma Henderson’s remarkable debut novel 'Grace Williams Says it out Loud' draws on her families’ own experiences of having a loved-one in long-term psychiatric care, to paint a passionate and honest portrayal of life and love in a mental hospital.
The Woman who Thought too Much
Joanne Limburg (Atlantic Books)
Joanne Limburg knew something was wrong. She thinks things she doesn’t want to think, and does things she doesn’t want to do.
The Woman who Thought too Much is a darkly witty memoir that follows Limburg’s quest to understand her OCD and to manage her symptoms. It is also an exploration of the inner world of a poet and an intense evocation of the persistence and courage of the human spirit in the face of mental illness.
The Gossamer Thread: My Life as a Psychotherapist
John Marzillier (Karnac Books)
Having previously only written articles on psychotherapy, John Marzillier, a clinical psychologist, psychotherapist and one of the first pioneers for CBT, made the bold move to release a memoir of his experiences as a therapist, resulting in 'The Gossamer Thread: My Life as a Psychotherapist'.
This brave and delicate book gives a raw, uncompromising insight into a selection of Marzillier’s most interesting and challenging patients; their symptoms and progression in treatment, and the journey Marzillier himself goes on as a therapist.
What to Look for in Winter: A Memoir in Blindness
Candia McWilliam (Jonathan Cape)
Edinburgh-born author Candia McWilliam joined the judging panel of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 2006 only to begin losing her sight no sooner had she embarked on her mammoth reading list.
'What to Look for in Winter' explores how McWilliam’s blepharospasm, a condition in which the person’s eyelids clamp shut effectively blinding them, was forced to look inwards.
This moving autobiographical work takes us on a unique journey into the inner world of one of the leading figures in the British literary world.
Teach us to Sit Still: A Sceptic’s Search for Health and Healing
Tim Parks (Harvill Secker)
For an arch-sceptic anything New Age is beyond contempt. This was Tim Parks’ initial reaction having been recommended breathing exercises for a crippling prostate condition. But after finding that this brought him the improvement and relief which conventional medical routes had failed to provide, Parks sets out on a path of self-discovery, confronting some hard truths about the relationship between the mind and the body.
His brutally honest and engaging 'Teach us to Sit Still' shines a light on one man’s battle, not only with chronic pain, but also middle age.
Wendy Perriam (Hale Books)
Wendy Perriam’s first novel in eight years tells the story of the secretive librarian Eric. Alongside his passionate mission to bring the wisdom of books to the masses, Eric sets out to prove himself after his wife takes off to Seattle with their only child. 'Broken Places' effortlessly manages to combine the humorous with the serious, charting Eric’s wayward quest to getting his life back on track and possibly even to find a soulmate, whilst also getting to the root of one of the most fundamental of human emotions, fear.
This Party’s Got to Stop
Rupert Thomson (Granta)
Rupert Thomson’s first non-fiction work 'This Party’s Got to Stop' is a darkly comic memoir of Thomson and his two brothers moving back into their Eastbourne family home after the sudden death of their father. While the rest of the country is fixated on the struggle between Scargill and Thatcher, the three brothers take their dad’s old pills and tear the house apart in their bid to confront his sudden death, as well as each other.