“Books don't offer real escape, but they can stop a mind scratching itself raw.” - David Mitchell
David Mitchell tells stories that seer into our hearts and minds. In Cloud Atlas he took us on a journey from the 19th century South Pacific to post-apocalyptic Hawaii and all the way back again. In The Bone Clocks he lifted the veil on a strange new reality hidden just beneath the surface of things. In The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet he imagined 18th century Nagasaki in such vivid and meticulous detail that a single sentence could take half a day to write.
In conversation with the psychologist Tanya Byron, we will explore the breadth and depth of his imagination – and delve into an extraordinary relationship that has much to tell us about our minds, the nature of fatherhood and childhood, and what it means to be alive.
Naoki Higashida was only thirteen when he wrote The Reason I Jump, a revelatory account of autism from the inside by a non-verbal child, which became an international success.
As the father of a non-verbal autistic boy, David Mitchell and his wife found his personal insight deeply profound. Together they translated Naoki’s book, and have recently collaborated with him on a sequel: Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight.
Professor Tanya Byron is a clinical psychologist specialising in working with children and adolescents. She will draw on her breadth of expertise to explore with David what he has learned from Naoki about living with autism – and from his own experiences of parenting a child with non-verbal autism. Their aim is to foster a better understanding of autism and to encourage society to see people with disabilities as people, not as problems.
ABOUT SPECIAL EVENTS
Across a host of beautiful venues in central London, leading thinkers from the UK and abroad join TSOL’s Faculty in conversation to share their wisdom for living well. Speakers for this strand have been invited by The School of Life to present their own material. Session formats will vary depending on the subject.