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A few months ago I was asked to contribute a letter to an anthology being published by Mind and Penguin. The remit was to write a letter to a stranger on the subject of happiness, to be interpreted however I and the other 49 contributors saw fit.
When I first clapped eyes on ‘Dear Stranger’, I was bowled over by the incredible, powerful contributions from authors, artists, celebrities and bloggers – Marian Keyes, Caitlin Moran, Richard Branson, Nicci French, @_sectioned and Tony Parsons, to name but a few (although I feel something of a cuckoo in the nest, I’m in there too!).
I found the letters, musings, drawings and cartoons searching, uplifting and even challenging at times (I think it’s only right that the best writing takes you through a panoply of emotions). But most of, the anthology gave me an overwhelming feeling that ‘Dear Stranger’ might be just the thing needed by people struggling to find happiness in their lives because of mental illness (their own or somebody else’s). This book is about succour and comfort but it’s also about life, hope and, of course, happiness.
Now it has been published (July 2), it’s your opportunity to see what I mean. Twitter is already buzzing with #dearstranger tweets – this is clearly striking a chord. Please buy it, not just because it’s raising money for Mind (at least £3 for each copy sold), it’ll make perfect summer reading and it’ll look great on your bookshelf but also because, by my reckoning, it is an important anthology that gives hope and may also help to rebuild or even save lives.
You can buy it here – please do.