Behind the stereotype of the ‘tortured artist’ can lie a much more troubling, difficult truth: that many writers (and indeed their readers) have endured dark periods in their lives, for a host of reasons. Many use their writing – or their choice of reading – to sustain them through these periods, clinging to the words like a liferaft.
Our panel talk about their own experiences of being sustained by writing to get through a dark period: for Melinda Salisbury, Harry Potter provided shelter from the storm; for Andrew McMillan it was literary hero Thom Gunn. They join Darryl Cunningham, whose experiences as a health care assistant on a psychiatric ward inform his book ‘Psychiatric Tales’; and Jerry Pinto, whose novel ‘Em and the Big Hoom’ is based on his mother’s depression. Together they’ll discuss how both producing and consuming writing can help us triumph over adversity. The discussion is chaired by journalist Yvette Huddleston.