Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Candia McWilliam and Carol Lee

Now for Candia McWilliam's doorstopper What To Look For in Winter: A Memoir in Blindness. (I sped-read to the end of Alistair Moffat's The Faded Map yesterday, intending to return to it at more leisure and keen to get to grips with Candia's memoir). I had a colleague, Carol Lee, on a newspaper many years ago who, like me, became a writer of books and like Candia suffered a similar (or should that be analogous), acute, physically disabling failure of faculty which also - how interesting - for a while prevented her from writing. In Carol's case, it was that she suddenly found one day that she could not use her hands and lower arms. In Candia's it is that in 2006 while acting as a judge on the Booker prize, her eyelids closed over perfectly functioning eyes - a condition known as blepharospasm. Carol Lee describes in her memoir Crooked Angels how, after many weary months and years traipsing from one specialist to another, she finally found relief in an unexpected quarter and recovered her arms' function by being helped to remember an episode in her childhood where her father shut her in a trunk. Carol has turned her attention recently to the Moors Murders, her new book Witness from Random House is out 2nd June. My next book is The Spruce Cookbook a Scottish-Swedish co-production. I particularly enjoy spruce jam or preserve - watch out for the recipe when the book is out next year.

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