Author Will Elliott reveals psychotic side in memoirs

Wed Jun 3, 2009 12:32am EDT
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By Pauline Askin

SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - Australian author Will Elliott got tired of telling people that his first novel, about a schizophrenic clown, was not autobiographical, so he wrote about what it's really like to deal with the illness in a memoir.

Filled with dark humor and honest insights, "Strange Places" details the 30-year-old's journey through the drugs, the delusions and insights that psychosis, and recovery, bring. The book was published in May.

Elliott, who has won several awards for his fiction, had to drop out of law school at the age of 20 after being diagnosed with schizophrenia.

He wrote his critically acclaimed debut novel, "The Pilo Family Circus" which was published in Australia in 2006, while recovering from a psychotic episode.

Elliott says he hopes his memoir will help people newly diagnosed with schizophrenia and those who care for mentally ill patients. He spoke to Reuters recently about why writing is a form of therapy.

Q: Why did you chose to write about schizophrenia?

A: "Early on, when I was diagnosed and before I considered writing, it occurred to me that I would have enjoyed seeing what someone who had been there say what it was like. The only people I was talking to were doctors and case workers, people who mean well, but put it into terms that are foreign and sound strange to someone just coming out of the chaos of a psychotic episode."

Q: Have attitudes toward schizophrenia changed?   Continued...