Readersforum's Blog

February 9, 2013

The medicinal power of literature: Books on prescription to be introduced

v2-medicinal-literature1‘Mood boosting’ poetry and novels to be recommended by GPs

By Nick Clark

People consulting their local GP over mental health issues may find they are written a surprising prescription, one redeemed at the local library rather than a pharmacy.

The “big guns” of the library and medical worlds have joined for an initiative to help treat those with mild to moderate mental health problems.

Patients could be recommended anything from one of 30 medical volumes dealing with specific conditions to “mood boosting books” – novels and poetry – from writers including Jo Brand, Bill Bryson and Terry Jones.

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January 25, 2012

Literary feud lies behind novel choice for Costa book of the year

 Andrew Miller emerges triumphant after support for biography divides the judging panel

Andrew Miller

By Nick Clark

The novelist Andrew Miller won the Costa Book of the Year award last night despite “bitter dissent” among the judges over whether the prize should have gone to a biography of Edward Thomas instead.

The Bristol-born writer picked up the £35,000 prize at a ceremony in central London, which also marked the 40th anniversary of the awards. Miller beat the Man Booker Prize winner Julian Barnes to the Novel Award before also winning Book of the Year for his sixth book, Pure. His earlier work Oxygen was shortlisted for Best Novel more than a decade ago, and was also considered for the Booker Prize.

It emerged that the judging panel, chaired by Geordie Greig, editorial director of The Independent, The Independent on Sunday and the London Evening Standard, was locked in a “fierce debate and quite bitter dissent to find the winner”.

He said the judges were split over two books in particular, the eventual winner and the winner of the Biography Award. “It was not unpleasant, it was forthright,” Mr Greig said. On judging the five very different categories, he remarked: “It’s not like comparing apples and oranges – it’s like comparing bananas and curry.”

 

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