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“If you get the chance to read this shatteringly beautiful evocation of family relationships, grief, death

and most exquisitely – love –

grasp it with both hands.

In a word it’s breath-taking.”

- JAN KEENAN,

author of ‘The Naming of Bones’

A SONG INSIDE

BUY NOW HERE:

eBook: 978-1-8380430-1-8

Paperback: 978-1-8380430-0-1

 

This short film of Sam was made by his dad, Simon, from home videos. It was shown at the launch.

This is a story about love.

‘You are a song inside me now, a melody that stirs and bursts into life when I think of you.’

In this heart-breaking, thought-provoking and ultimately uplifting memoir, Gill remembers her life with the boy and young man who enchanted and infuriated in equal measure. Sam saw colours where others saw grey. He made people feel alive. His unvanquishable spirit sings out as Gill reflects on the joys he brought, the difficulties of his struggles with schizophrenia, and the impact of his death.

Part journal, part journey into the past, and part conversation with Sam, in this beautifully written memoir Gill thoughtfully and tenderly reveals her relationship with her son, both before and after his death. A Song Inside explores universal issues of love and loss to reveal how we can move forward and find happiness again, without leaving behind the people we have lost.

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“This beautifully written and tender tribute to a beloved son is full of sadness but also of love. I learned a lot from it.”

CATHY RENTZENBRINK

author of the Sunday Times bestselling memoir 'The Last Act of Love'

“A Song Inside is a tribute to the quiet heroism of motherhood, the celebration of difference, the heartbreak of loss. I loved this book for its unflinching honesty."

KERRY FISHER

author of ‘Another Woman’s Child’

Sam's story is that of many young men: different, troubled, beloved and lost. His mother's story, and the family's, is all their own but will raise echoes for many of the process of memory, understanding, and resolution.

LIBBY PURVES

radio presenter, journalist and author

"A Song Inside is both moving and honest; ultimately, Gill Mann has written an uplifting love letter to her son."

ALI THURM

author of 'One Scheme of Happiness'

"Gill Mann's poignant and beautifully written memoir is as much about the impact of Sam's life as it is about his death, as much about family as it is about one young man. It overflows with enduring love and will resonate with anyone who has ever grieved."

AMANDA HUGGINS

author of 'Scratched Enamel Heart'

“In Gill’s gentle and loving hands, her son’s story sings and blazes a trail for all who have loved and lost.”

CLAIRE DYER

author of 'The Moment'

“Schizophrenia remains greatly misunderstood. By telling the profoundly personal and deeply moving story of how it changed the life of her son and her family, Gill illuminates the truth of the disease.”

ORLANDO VON EINSIEDEL
Oscar-winning director of 
'The White Helmets'

Gill Mann has written an affecting memoir about the loss of her son.

DAVID NICHOLLS

award-winning author of 'One Day'

If you read A Song Inside and can think of someone it might help, do please tell them about it. And if it’s touched you, perhaps write a review on Amazon or Goodreads. You can do, even if you bought it elsewhere.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Gill Mann has always loved writing but has only recently considered publishing her work. She has had a long and varied career, starting her working life as a solicitor and becoming a partner in a law firm.

In her early forties she re-trained as a professional photographer, becoming an Associate of the Royal Photographic Society, before deciding to return to university when she was in her late forties to study for a Post-graduate Diploma and Masters degree in Psychodynamic Counselling. She now works as a therapist.

It is her interest in and understanding of people that informs her writing. She writes mainly from life but has more recently turned to fiction, starting work on a collection of short stories based on the theme of therapy.

 

NEWS and MEDIA

Book Launch video

Watch a video of the virtual launch of A Song Inside, recorded on 22nd July 2020. It includes several readings from the book, a Q&A with fellow author, Claire Dyer, and a short film of Sam made by his dad, Simon, from home videos. It will give you a real feel for the book. Watch out for the beam of light!

Interview for Teenage Kicks podcast

The writer, podcaster and blogger, Helen Willis - who writes about all things to do with teenagers and parenting teenagers, with a special focus on mental health - recorded an interview with Gill for her new series, 'Meet the Parents.' Gill talks with Helen about the joys and challenges of parenting Sam and the years of coping when he was first showing signs of schizophrenia. 

As one listener wrote, 'Gill is saying exactly everything that I have thought and felt over the years, particularly everything she shares about a mother's heartache, but also the impact on wider family.'

Do listen. Anyone who has worried about a child, worried about how to parent them or lived alongside their health struggles will find something that resonates.

Click here to listen.

Interview for Shapes of Grief podcast

Grief psychotherapist, Liz Gleeson, interviewed Gill for her excellent Shapes of Grief podcast series, which explores all aspects of grief, with particular focus on the lived experience of grieving. 

 

You can listen to it here.

Reading for Retreat West Books

Gill has recorded a reading of a short excerpt from A Song Inside, together with a brief introduction. Listen to it here.

Good Morning Marlow, 23/10/2020

Good Morning MarlowMarlow FM
00:00 / 39:18

Local radio station Marlow FM invited Gill onto their morning show, 'Good Morning Marlow', where she was interviewed by Jill and Rhiannon. You can listen here.

Gill reads an extract from A Song Inside

Boxing Day ReadingGill Mann
00:00 / 05:56

Listen here.

Episode 12 -The Uncertwenties by Karis Chloe

ReadingThe Uncertwenties
00:00 / 04:05

A Song Inside was featured on Karis Chloe's podcast, The Uncertwenties. You can listen to Gill reading the opening few pages of the book here.

Shapes of Grief Education Programme

After the interview Gill was invited to record two lectures for a new Shapes of Grief education programme. It's an amazing resource for anyone interested in grief, especially for trainee therapists, health workers or students. It includes lectures from top academic and clinical experts on grief. And Gill!

 

Click here to find out more.

Article in the Henley Standard

Gill was interviewed by the reporter James Burton for the Henley Standard, who published a feature article about A Song Inside. You can read it here.

Below is a letter Gill subsequently wrote to the paper about references in the article to 'my schizophrenic son' - words Gill never used. They published the letter under the heading:

 

'Don't label my son 

Sir
I would like to thank James Burton for the kind and careful way in which he interviewed me for the feature article about the death of my son, Sam and the sensitivity he demonstrated in his writing of it. 

What a shame that the headline ‘How I coped with the death of my schizophrenic son’ did not reflect the same awareness and sensitivity. I have always been careful to describe Sam as 'having schizophrenia' rather than 'being schizophrenic'. It may sound like a pedantic point but it’s actually a very important one. Sam - like all other people with mental health diagnoses - was so much more than his diagnosis. The headline was very much at odds with the tone and thrust of the article which talked of my desire for 'readers to get to know Sam as a person and see the human being behind the label.’ 

It is a tragedy when an illness comes to be regarded as the the defining aspect of any individual and any such description is inevitably reductive since it puts the illness ahead of the person. I have never described Sam as ‘my schizophrenic son.’ Quite simply it’s not how I ever thought of or think of him.'
 

Wokingham Borough Libraries Interview

 
 

Gill was interviewed by Wokingham Borough Libraries for their series of author profiles. You can listen to it here.

GALLERY

This short film of Sam was made by his dad, Simon, from home videos. It was shown at the launch.

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Do Not Stand at My Grave and WeepSam Roberts
00:00 / 02:01

In this poignant recording Sam is reading 'Do not stand at my grave and weep’ by Mary Elizabeth Frye.
 
He is 13 years old and the reading, which is set to the Adagietto from Mahler’s Fifth symphony, was recorded at Gill's father’s funeral in 2005.

Slideshow of Sam, 1992-2014