Congratulations to Jayne Newling, whose incredibly moving memoir Missing Christopher: A mother’s story of tragedy, grief and love has won the 2014 Literature prize at the Australian Human Rights Commission Awards.
We’re incredibly proud of Jayne, and this book, which tells of her journey through inconsolable grief after the death of her teenage son Christopher, by suicide.
You can also read an extract of the book on the Sydney Morning Herald website and the first chapter on Jayne’s Missing Christopher website. Jayne, along with another son Nic, now works closely with Black Dog Institute to promote suicide prevention and mental health issues, with royalties from the book going to support the organisation.
Jayne was a student on Faber Writing Academy’s True Stories course with Patti Miller, and in an interview with Megalong Books earlier this year Jayne explained how the course helped her in writing Missing Christopher:
“I had finished a first draft of the book and hated it. I shoved it in the drawer. When my son Nic begged me to write about his brother Christopher I decided to give it another shot. I did the Faber course over a six month period and forced myself to finish it in that time. The course was fantastic because it gave me confidence to continue. All the writers in the group were encouraging and for the first time I started to believe what I had to say was worthwhile.”
Here’s what Patti Miller had to say of Jayne’s memoir:
“a faultless gaze into the human heart where grief and love are enduring companions”
True Stories: Writing Memoir and Narrative Non-Fiction, with Patti Miller, runs again at Faber Writing Academy in Sydney from February 2015.