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Bobby Baker wins Mind Book of the Year 2011

Dan Slipper Dan Slipper | 11:13 UK time, Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Bobby Baker, winner of the Mind Book of the Year award 2011

Previous work by performance artist Bobby Baker has included making life-size edible cake versions of her family, dancing with meringue ladies and driving around London strapped to the back of a van yelling through a megaphone.

But last night mental health charity Mind recognised her book about mental illness and awarded her a Book of the Year prize.

Diary Drawings: Mental Illness and Me is a collection of 158 drawings created by Baker between 1997 and 2008. It charts her experience of mental and physical ill-health and her eventual recovery.

As well as illustrations, the book features an introductory essay by author Marina Warner and writing by Baker and her daughter, Dora Whittuck, a clinical psychologist.

"I've scarcely ever won anything in my life! I can't imagine anything I'd be more proud to win than the Mind Book of the Year Award. I'm beyond pleased and it means an awful lot to people like me who've had experience of mental illness and for my family too," said Baker.

The Mind Book of the Year award is now in its 30th year and judges include authors Blake Morrison, Fay Weldon, and Michele Roberts.

Other shortlisted titles included The Woman Who Thought Too Much by Joanne Limburg, My Life as a Psychotherapist by John Marzillier, What to Look For in Winter by Candia McWilliam and Broken Places by Wendy Perriam.

Judge Fay Weldon commented:

"This is the first graphic autobiography we've ever had in Mind's Book of the Year - and it was very graphic! She's such an energetic and lively person and this just shows through in her honest view of herself and people around her. You can't help but respond to it. I think there is a sea change with this year's entries into a kind of acceptance about the possibilities and the future people with mental health problems can have."

The runner up was Emma Henderson who was given a highly commended award for her debut novel Grace Williams Says It Loud about life in a psychiatric hospital.


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