Performance artist Bobby Baker’s diary of the drawings she created during the 11 years she struggled with mental illness has been chosen as the Mind Book of the Year.
Authors and judges of the prize Fay Weldon, Blake Morrison and Michele Roberts found Baker’s Diary Drawings: Mental Illness and Me to be the book which had provided the greatest literary contribution to increasing understanding of mental health issues over the last year. A collection of 158 drawings and watercolours from the hundreds Baker drew daily between 1997 and 2008, it is an “astonishing insight” into the artist’s journey to recovery after she was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder in 1996, said Mind, and “a graphic, often darkly comic insight into the life of an artist grappling with huge internal upheavals”.
Author Emma Henderson was named runner-up for her debut novel Grace Williams Says It Loud, a “passionate and honest portrayal” of 11-year-old Grace’s life in a mental hospital which was also shortlisted for the Orange prize for fiction. From memoir to fiction, the other authors in the running for the Mind award were Joanne Limburg for The Woman Who Thought Too Much, John Marzillier for The Gossamer Thread, Candia McWilliam for What to Look for in Winter, Tim Parks for Teach Us to Sit Still, Wendy Perriam for Broken Places and Rupert Thomson for The Party’s Got to Stop.