Write Mind

Write Mind is a new initiative from WhitLit, supported by Canterbury City Council, that uses the written word to discuss and explore better mental health through reading and creative writing.

Winston Churchill, our subject for WhitLit this year, battled with depression for much of his life, calling it his ‘black dog’ and his biographers say that his writing saved him from the depths of despair. 

Write Mind will launch on 18-19 May and will host author talks, book chats and writing workshops throughout the year. Please sign up to our newsletter and social media for further event announcements.
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Write Mind Launch Weekend 

18-19 May 2019

Horsebridge Centre, Whitstable

Supported by Canterbury City Council

£5 per event or £20 for the weekend (excluding workshops), £30 for the weekend (including workshops) 

Tickets available HERE 

 

SATURDAY 18 MAY    

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Write Your Heart Out with Peggy Riley – £5

Saturday 18 May

Horsebridge Centre, Whitstable    

11am-12.30pm

Sometimes we have so much to say that the words get stuck between our minds and our fingers, but our workshops will help you to free up your ideas and commit them to the page.   If you’ve always wanted to write, but didn’t know how to get started, this is the place for you.  Come write yourself right!  On the first session, we’ll all be writing from pictures to help ideas come.  Through guided prompts about place and the senses, these pictures and ideas will slowly turn into short story beginnings.  All you need is a notebook and a pen – we’ll provide the rest!  

Peggy Riley is the author of ‘Amity and Sorrow’ and is  currently lecturing for the Creative & Professional Writing programme at Canterbury Christ Church University.

 

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Book Debate – Matt Haig’s ‘Reasons to Stay Alive ‘- FREE – but booking essential to reserve your place

Saturday 18 May

Horsebridge Centre, Whitstable  

12.45pm-1.45pm

What does it mean to feel truly alive? Come and join a free book discussion about Matt Haig’s ‘Reasons to Stay Alive’ hosted by Tim Mason and a panel of readers (NB Matt Haig will not be in attendance). Write Mind will be hosting free chats throughout the year discussion books about mental health.

Aged 24, Matt Haig’s world caved in. He could see no way to go on living. This is the true story of how he came through crisis, triumphed over an illness that almost destroyed him and learned to live again. A moving, funny and joyous exploration of how to live better, love better and feel more alive, ‘Reasons to Stay Alive’ is more than a memoir. It is a book about making the most of your time on earth. “I wrote this book because the oldest clichés remain the truest. Time heals. The bottom of the valley never provides the clearest view. The tunnel does have light at the end of it, even if we haven’t been able to see it . . . Words, just sometimes, really can set you free.” Listen and discuss, participation not essential. Come along if you have or haven’t read the book.

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Katherine May - The Electricity of Every Living Thing  (Paperback Launch) £5

Saturday 18 May

Horsebridge Centre, Whitstable  

2pm -3pm

A life-affirming and perspective-shifting memoir of one woman’s walk in the wilds as she comes to terms with an Asperger’s diagnosis.

In August 2015, Katherine May set out to walk the 630-mile South West Coast Path. She wanted to understand why she had stopped coping with everyday life; why motherhood had been so overwhelming and isolating, and why the world felt full of inundation and expectations she can’t meet. Setting her feet down on the rugged and difficult path by the sea, the answer begins to unfold. It’s a chance encounter with a voice on the radio that sparks a realisation that she has Asperger’s Syndrome. ‘The Electricity of Every Living Thing’ tells the story of the year in which Katherine comes to terms with her diagnosis. It leads to a re-evaluation of her life so far – a kinder one, which finally allows her to be different rather than simply awkward, arrogant or unfeeling. The physical and psychological journeys become inextricably entwined, and as Katherine finds her way across the untameable coast, she also finds the way to herself. This book is an exploration of wild landscapeswhat it means to be different and, above all, how we can all learn to make peace within our own unique minds.

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Laura Freeman – The Reading Cure: How Books Restored My Appetite – £5

Saturday 18 May

Horsebridge Centre, Whitstable  

3.15 – 4.15pm 

At the age of fourteen, Laura Freeman was diagnosed with anorexia. She had seized the one aspect of her life that she seemed able to control, and struck different foods from her diet one by one until she was starving. But even at her lowest point, the one appetite she never lost was her love of reading. As Laura battled her anorexia, she gradually re-discovered how to enjoy food – and life more broadly – through literature. Plum puddings and pottles of fruit in Dickens gave her courage to try new dishes; the wounded Robert Graves’ appreciation of a pair of greengages changed the way she thought about plenty and choice; Virginia Woolf’s painterly descriptions of bread, blackberries and biscuits were infinitely tempting. Book by book, meal by meal, Laura developed an appetite and discovered an entire library of reasons to live. ‘The Reading Cure’ is a beautiful, inspiring account of hunger and happiness, about addiction, obsession and recovery, and about the way literature and food can restore appetite and renew hope.

SUNDAY 19 MAY

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Workshop – Wise Words for Wellbeing with Victoria Field – £5

Sunday 19 May

Horsebridge Centre, Whitstable  

11am-12.30pm

Lots of us find we are drawn to writing at times of emotion, whether sadness or joy.  And many people have a favourite poem that they carry with them for inspiration or solace.  Come and explore the power of poetry to help us live more fulfilling and happier lives.  We will read some poems together and write in response. No experience necessary and you can participate as much or as little as you wish. Please bring a notebook and something to write with.
Victoria Field is a writer and trained as a poetry therapist. She has been running writing groups in the community for almost twenty years.  www.thepoetrypractice.co.uk

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Mark Rice Oxley – A Memoir of Depression and Recovery 

Sunday 19 May

Horsebridge Centre, Whitstable  

12.45-1.45pm

On paper, things looked good for Mark Rice-Oxley: wife, children, fulfilling job. But then, at his 40th birthday party, his whole world crumbled as he succumbed to depression. Many men suffer from depression yet it’s still a taboo subject. By telling his story, Mark Rice-Oxley hopes it will enable others to tell theirs. How many men do you know who have been through periods when their lives haven’t seemed right? How badly askew were things for them? Men often don’t visit the doctor, or they don’t want to face up to feelings of weakness and vulnerability.  In this intensely moving memoir he retraces the months of his utmost despair, revisiting a landscape from which at times he felt he would never escape. Written with lyricism and poignancy, Mark captures the visceral nature of this most debilitating of illnesses with a frightening clarity, while at the same time offering a sympathetic and dispassionate view of what is happening, and perhaps why. This is not a self-help book but a memoir that is brimful of experience, understanding and hope for all those who read it. It is above all honest, touching and surprisingly optimistic.

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In Search of Silence – Poorna Bell, £5

Sunday 19 May

Horsebridge Centre

2pm-3pm

 

In 2015 Poorna Bell became a widow after her husband Rob took his own life on a winter’s night, having battled depression and addiction. Her situation was unusual when compared to a lot of people, but she was left figuring out exactly the same things. Will she ever be happy? Will she find love again? Who will rescue her from her sadness?
 
Two years on and Poorna is rebuilding her life. And it is from this place – as she works towards choosing what she does and doesn’t want from society, that she will explore a different conversation around fulfilment and self-worth.Cutting across the landscapes in India, New Zealand and Britain, Poorna Bell explores the things endemic in our society such as sadness and loneliness, to unpick why we seek other people to fix what’s inside of us.

 

‘In Search of Silence’ is a heartfelt, deeply personal journey which asks us all to define what ‘happiness’ truly means. 

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Victoria Field – Baggage a book of Leavings – £5

Sunday 19 May

Horsebridge Centre

3.15-4.15pm

How does anyone survive the ending of a marriage? In ‘Baggage’, both Victoria Field’s sense of wonder and awareness of loss continually fascinate. She packs her bag and joins hundreds of other pilgrims, but only a poet could depict so acutely how a marriage fails. Tough, lyrical, devastating, ‘Baggage’ is a courageous achievement. The author comes to terms with the aftershock of her marriage ending whilst on a 12 day 212 mile walk.