I’m a writer of fiction and non-fiction. My novel The Shock of the Fall is about a young man coming to terms with the death of his brother. It was a Sunday Times bestseller and translated into thirty languages. It won the Costa Book of the Year, the Betty Trask Prize, the National Book Award for Popular Fiction and the Writers’ Guild Award for Best First Novel.
I’ve written essays and articles for the Guardian, New York Times and HuffPost. My BBC Radio 4 documentary The Mind in the Media, which explored portrayals of mental illness in fiction and journalism, was shortlisted for a Mind Media Award. My poetry has been broadcast on radio and TV, and I’m a previous winner of the BBC Best New Filmmaker Award.
My book of non-fiction The Heartland (also published as This Book Will Change Your Mind About Mental Health) was a Sunday Times Book of the Year and was longlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize. The charity Rethink Mental Illness named it as one of their best books of the decade.
Why Do I Feel? is my podcast series exploring human emotions through stories and expert testimony. It reached No.25 on Apple Podcasts UK (No.5 in the Society & Culture category) and was praised in the Financial Times for counterbalancing bleak stories with moments of levity, successfully steering clear of the clichés of most mental health podcasts.
I’m a recipient of The Big Anxiety Prize, awarded in association with the University of New South Wales for ‘a creative thinker advancing the discussion of mental health’. I also hold an Honorary Doctorate in Liberal Arts from Abertay University, conferred in recognition of my role in raising awareness of mental health issues through literature.
Since 2014 I’ve taught Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, where I’m a Reader and Senior Lecturer.