The mental health problems of Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath and Marilyn Monroe are used to help chart the study of the female mind over the last 200 years, in one of the books shortlisted for an annual literary award.
Mad, Bad and Sad: A History of Women and the Mind Doctors from 1800 to the present, by the historian, campaigner and author Lisa Appignanesi, analyses the changing understanding of women’s mental health problems.
The charity Mind’s book of the year award celebrates fiction and non-fiction that raises awareness of mental health issues, with this year’s judges including Fay Weldon, Blake Morrison and Michele Roberts.
Also on the shortlist are: The Devil Within: A Memoir of Depression, by the novelist and journalist Stephanie Merritt; The Boy with the Topknot: A Memoir of Love, Secrets and Lies in Wolverhampton, by journalist Sathnam Sanghera; Coming Back to Me: The Autobiography of Marcus Trescothick, by the former England cricketer Marcus Trescothick (with Peter Hayter); Coda, by the playwright Simon Gray, the final volume of his memoirs and written following a diagnosis of cancer; The New Black: Mourning, Melancholia and Depression, by psychoanalyst Darian Leader; and The Myth of the Chemical Cure: A Critique of Psychiatric Drug Treatment, by psychiatrist and academic Joanna Moncrieff, a founding member and co-chair of the Critical Psychiatry Network.
The winner will be announced at a ceremony on 14 May in London, along with the winners of Mind’s journalist, student journalist and champion of the year, the shortlist for which includes Alastair Campbell and Paul O’Grady.