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Alison  White

About The Author

Alison White

Alison White

As her profound and moving memoir about parenting a disabled child, Letter to Louis, is published, Alison White introduces other books around the theme of disability.

 

Alison White grew up in Sheffield, studied in Leeds and moved to Glasgow, where she set up her own landscape architecture business. In 1996 her first child, Louis, was delivered by emergency caesarean section at thirty-two weeks' gestation. He suffered severe brain damage, and has cerebral palsy and learning difficulties. In 2003 Alison left Scotland to live in remote South West Wales with her husband, Greg, and their three children, Louis, Natasha and Jack, where they still live today. There they built a house to meet Louis's needs and were able to allow their two younger children to run wild.

Her book, Letter to Louis, tells the story of her son's journey to adulthood : the  uncertainty about Louis' future following his birth and whether he would be able to walk or talk, his progress helped by music therapy which unlocked his voice, the responses of those both within and outside the family to him, the impact on relationships within the family, and the challenges and joys, written with sensitivity and humour.

Exclusively for Foyles, Alison selects ten books on disability which moved and impressed her.

 

Author Picks

The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly
(Paperback)
Jean-Dominique Bauby
A short beautiful memoir exploring how it feels to be ‘locked in.’ Dictated through the blinking of Bauby’s left eye, he tells us how he came to be in this state. What follows is a searing account of this man’s loves and regrets.
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£7.99
 
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Justice for Laughing Boy: Connor...
(Paperback)
Sara Ryan
 
Sara Ryan Page’s son Connor drowned in a bath in a care home at the age of eighteen due to negligence. Ryan Page has written a detailed account of the mistakes made and the cover-ups that followed. In the process she has unearthed evidence of an unacceptably high incidence of deaths occurring to people with learning disabilities within the Southern Health care system.
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£12.99
 
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Ou on Va, Papa?
(Paperback)
Jean-Louis Fournier
 
Fournier’s prose is brutal in its honesty at his disappointment in having two profoundly disabled children. His humour is cruel and yet for all of Fournier’s taunting he clearly loves his two sons and seems bewildered by this love. It is a moving but uncomfortable read.
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£16.95
 
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George and Sam
(Paperback)
Charlotte Moore
 
Charlotte Moore is a mother to two autistic sons George and Sam. Her story takes us from their birth through their childhood, describing in detail her daily struggles to care for their needs.
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Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of...
(Paperback)
Deborah Solomon
 
The artist Joseph Cornell’s ‘hermit’s life,’ was partly due to his role as a carer for his physically disabled brother Robert. Cornell spent his whole life supporting, living with and caring for Robert and was devastated by his death at the age of 55. The two brothers shared a close artistic bond kept hidden from the outside world.
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What's Eating Gilbert Grape
(Paperback)
Peter Hedges
 
This quirky, heart-warming story was made into a film starring Johnny Depp as Gilbert Grape and Leonardo DiCaprio as his younger brother Arnie. Arnie has severe learning disabilities and a mischievous personality. What interested me in this story were the conflicted feelings Gilbert has towards his responsibilities and his dreams.
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The Glass Menagerie
(Paperback)
Tennessee Williams; Arthur Miller;...
 
This play examines the underlying anguish protagonist Tom feels at his mother’s unrealistic requests; his sister’s care needs and his own desire to have a life free of these burdens. In real life Williams was faced with a similar situation; his older sister Rose had suffered brain damage. The success of The Glass Menagerie enabled Williams to pay and provide for his own sister’s care throughout her whole life.
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£8.99
 
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My Left Foot
(Paperback)
Christy Brown
 
Christy Brown suffered from severe cerebral palsy and wrote this autobiography on his childhood growing up in Ireland using his left foot. Brown has a gift with words and his account is a beautiful and artful piece of literature, both inspiring and moving in equal measure.
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The Less You Know The Sounder You Sleep
(Hardback)
Juliet Butler
 
Russia’s co-joined twins Masha and Dasha Krivoshlyapova were born in 1950. Their birth mother was told her twins had died but instead they were brought up secretly by the Russian state. Journalist Juliet Butler knew Dasha and Masha over fifteen years before their deaths in 2003 and has written their fictionalised autobiographical story through the voice of the gentle twin Dasha.
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I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes...
(Hardback)
Maggie O'Farrell
Maggie O’Farrell’s daughter suffers from severe anaphylaxis. This memoir was written by O’Farrell with the underlying desire to acknowledge her daughter is not unique, we all face potential death in our lives. She recounts her own 16 near death experiences; her 17th recounts a close incident of her daughter’s. I read that final chapter under the bed covers barely able to breathe myself.
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Available Titles By This Author

Letter to Louis
(Hardback)
Alison White
 
 
£12.99
 

Past Events for this Author

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