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What Happens When the Mind Loses Touch with Reality? Horatio Clare

Festival of Ideas
Horatio Clare

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Horatio Clare tells a story of mania, psychosis and treatment in a psychiatric hospital, and onwards to release, recovery and healing.

After a lifetime of ups and downs, Clare experienced a complete breakdown and was committed to hospital under Section 2 of the Mental Health Act. He now reflects on how the mind can lose touch with reality, how we can fall apart and how we can be healed – or not – by treatment.

Clare talks about those who looked after him, from family and friends to strangers and professionals and how we understand and treat acute crises of mental health. At a time where admission rates to mental hospitals are on the rise and ever wider sections of society are facing mental health issues, he gives a powerful and compassionate account of his own journey to ask urgent questions about mental health that affect each and every one of us.

He is in conversation with writer and journalist Dan Richards.

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Book cover of Heavy Light by Horatio Clare

Horatio Clare’s Heavy Light is published by Vintage Publishing. Buy a copy from Waterstones, our bookselling partners.

Horatio Clare

Horatio Clare is a travel writer, memoirist, broadcaster and children’s author. His essays and features are published in the Financial Times, Travel + Leisure, The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The Spectator and Conde Nast Traveller, where he is a Contributing Editor. He is a regular contributor to From Our Own Correspondent on BBC Radio Four. His books include Running for the Hills (2006), Sicily: Through Writers’ Eyes (2006), Truant: Notes from the Slippery Slope (2007), A Single Swallow (2009), The Prince’s Pen (2011), Down to the Sea in Ships (2014), Icebreaker – A Voyage Far North (2017), Orison for a Curlew (2017), The Light in the Dark – A Winter Journal (2018) and Something of His Art – Walking to Lubeck with J S Bach (2018).


Dan Richards

Dan Richards is a writer and journalist. His first book, Holloway, co-authored with Robert Macfarlane and illustrated by Stanley Donwood, was a Sunday Times Bestseller (Faber, 2013). His fourth book, Outpost: A Journey to the Wild Ends of the Earth (Canongate, 2019), explored of the appeal and pull of far-flung shelters in mountains, tundra, forests, oceans and deserts. He has written about travel and culture for various newspapers and magazines including the Guardian, Economist and Monocle.

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