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Drawings: Mental Illness and Me' wins Mind Book of the Year

Congratulations to Bobby Baker, a performance artist diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, for winning the 2011 Mind Book of the Year Award for ‘Diary Drawings: Mental Illness and Me’. Bobby was presented with the award on Monday 12 September 2011.

Bobby’s work is a collection of drawings created over 10 years of her life and is a poignant visual documentary of her experiences of mental, and later physical, ill-health as well as her eventual recovery.

The collection consists of 158 drawings from a total of 711 which Bobby produced between 1997 and 2008, and is the first book of its kind to win the award in its 30 year history.

The combination of drawings and writing provides a graphic, often darkly comic insight into the life of an artist grappling with huge internal upheavals. As well as an introductory essay by author Marina Warner, 'Diary Drawings' also includes essays by Bobby and by her daughter Dora Whittuck, a clinical psychologist.

Mind Book of the Year judges, Fay Weldon, Blake Morrison and Michele Roberts chose 'Diary Drawings' from over 100 entries. The Annual Mind Book of the Year Award, now in its 30th year, celebrates outstanding works of fact or fiction that heighten understanding of mental health issues.

Nominated alongside ‘Diary Drawings: Mental Illness and Me’, were:

  • Emma Henderson for 'Grace Williams Says it Out Loud' (highly commended)
  • Joanne Limburg for 'The Woman who Thought too Much'
  • John Marzillier for 'The Gossamer Thread', Candia McWilliam for 'What to Look for in Winter'
  • Tim Parks for 'Teach us to Sit Still'
  • Wendy Perriam for 'Broken Places' 
  • Rupert Thomson for 'The Party’s Got to Stop'.

‘Diary Drawings: Mental Illness and Me’ is published in 2010 by Profile Books.

For more information about Bobby Baker please go to the Wellcome Collection website or listen to this interview on The Guardian website.


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