DETAILS: It’s 1983 and 20-year-old university student Helen Fleet should be enjoying the best days of her life, but while her friends go on to graduate and have careers in London, she is forced to return to her parents’ home, bedridden with puzzling symptoms that doctors can’t explain and often don’t believe. She is eventually diagnosed with ME, a devastating condition that she must learn to live with over the next decade. All of her relationships are tested – and changed – by her illness. At times sad and at times funny, the author skillfully leads the reader through the trials and tribulations of Helen’s life, perfectly capturing her unusual experiences as a twenty-something woman living in 80s Scotland. Based on the author’s own experience of ME, The State of Me explores the loneliness and chaos of one of the most misunderstood illnesses of our time, but also celebrates the importance of family, friendships, and sexual love.
BIO: Nasim Marie Jafry was born in the 1960s in the west of Scotland to a Scottish mother and Pakistani father. Her novel ‘The State of Me’ (HarperCollins 2008) is a fictionalisation of her own experiences of the neuroimmune illness ME. Over the years, she has had short stories in various literary magazines and was more recently shortlisted for the Bridport Short Story prize 2011 and the Bridport Flash Fiction Prize 2012. She currently lives in Edinburgh.