Chairperson Eileen Battersby
‘ Teach Us to Sit Still made me laugh; it made me cry; and it made me seriously think about taking up Vipassana meditation.’ Will Self
What happens when a writer – faced with a life-changing experience – is forced not only to confront some hard truths about the relationship between mind and body, but also to question the very efficacy of the writer’s life? In Tim Parks’ bestselling memoir Teach Us to Sit Still – the story of a sceptic’s journey from chronic pain to well-being through meditation – the Booker-shortlisted novelist and essayist encountered just such a dilemma. Was the act of writing itself contributing to his ill health, and would renouncing his lifelong ‘Word Project’ be a necessary step to being well?
Having played out this intensely personal struggle in Teach Us to Sit Still, Parks seems to have come to an accommodation with his muse, returning to the writer’s realm with a gripping and perceptive new novel that draws on these extraordinary experiences. The story of a young woman who buries herself in the austere asceticism of a bizarrely severe retreat, The Server sets western individualism against the Buddhist belief that what we call self is insubstantial fantasy.
Join Tim Parks for a compelling consultation on the connections between writing, identity and well-being.