Scourged (Michelle Dooley Mahon)

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Beginning in the 60's, the tandem narrative unravels the memories of life in a small Irish town - narrated by the Scourge of the title - MDM - and her Mother Siobhán - in a series of flashbacks. It comprises sections of black comedy, nostalgia, memories and epiphanies - that document the personalities, history, and archive of an ordinary family, who through the bastard of disease that the Scourge calls "death by a thousand cuts" becomes cathartic, redemptive, and ultimately uplifting, as we become extraordinary in our ability to cope. It also shines a light on an illness that is rarely discussed in this detail. Written over 4 years, "Scourged" takes the reader on a journey from early diagnosis, the stages as the patient declines, the family's implosion, the morphing of the Scourge from wide eyed child into Enfant Terrible - then through obese depressed recluse, morphing into the creator of Shellshock - One Woman shows . Siobhán has always been my inspiration. The first thing I ever wrote about Siobhán was a short story called "Mothers Day" and following her hospital admission, a play called "Brigids Women" - named for the ward Siobhán spent 7 months in. After a decade of dementia, 6 years of which were spent in a small room in a Nursing Home, and after bravery that was described by medical personnel as "heroic and humbling" Siobhán was called home during a hurricane on the last day of winter, St Brigids Day. Her Months Mind Mass was held 7 weeks later, on Mother's Day. The book has been called groundbreaking and remarkable by a readers panel. I feel my Mother has helped me write it, and that I have given her back her voice, which was sadly silenced, and also given her back her place in the world, which she longed to see. I will use her own artwork - which she painted as a child- on the cover, with her signature.