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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.”

author of ‘The Naming of Bones’


OR ORDER from any bookshop:

eBook: 978-1-3999-5888-2

Paperback: 978-1-3999-5889-2


This short film of Sam was made from home videos by his father, Simon. It was first 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.”


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."


author of ‘Another Woman’s Child’

"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."


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.”


author of 'The Moment'

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.


radio presenter, journalist and author

“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.”

Oscar-winning director of 
'The White Helmets'

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


author of 'One Scheme of Happiness'

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


award-winning author of 'One Day'

To see reader reviews of A Song Inside on Amazon or to buy a second hand copy please click on the link below. Retreat West Books (the original publisher) closed its publishing arm in July 2023 and Amazon is unable to transfer existing reviews to the new publisher 



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Gill Mann has felt driven to put words on a page for as long as she can remember. Always a prolific correspondent and keeper of diaries, she has responded to the highs and lows of her life by writing, and the death of Sam was no exception. Writing, in its aftermath, did not feel like a choice but a compulsion.

She sees herself as an observer of everything around her - the natural world, places and most of all people. Her interest in and understanding of the human condition - seen through the lens of her many years of working as a psychotherapist - informs her writing above all else.

Gill worked formerly as a solicitor and photographer but it's her writing and working with people that has inspired her most.



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' 

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 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.



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

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

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