Retreat West Books signs memoir from Gill Mann

We are delighted to have signed our first memoir, which will publish in summer 2020.

A Song Inside by Gill Mann tells the story of her son Sam’s life and his death at age 22 from schizophrenia. Heartbreaking, hopeful and beautifully written it reveals how you can come through grief and devastating loss to find happiness again.

Gill Mann has written for as long as she can remember 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 has worked as a therapist for the past thirteen years.

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

Publisher and commissioning editor, Amanda Saint, said: “From the very opening pages of Gillian’s memoir, her beautiful writing grabbed me. This is a story filled with emotion, but never sentimental, and overflowing with love for the son she lost, for the family she has, and for life itself. I am thrilled that Gillian has chosen to publish with Retreat West Books.”

The book has been developed from the journal Gill kept in the two years following Sam’s death and it offers insights into grief, the struggles of individuals and families living with mental illness, and into family dynamics. It’s about survival and joy as well as pain, love, hurt and healing.

Gill said: “I am extremely excited to be publishing my memoir through Retreat West Books.  I’ve been working on it for the last five years and it’s very close to my heart. I hope it will resonate not only with any reader who has experienced loss but also those who haven’t, and who might discover that even such a devastating loss can be survived.

“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Amanda Saint with her commitment to the environment and to raising funds for charity through her sales. I shall be donating all the royalties I receive to charities working in the field of mental health. I’m very much looking forward to being part of the Retreat West Books family.”

Retreat West Books will also donate a share of royalties to Gillian’s chosen charity.

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