An inspiration for Samantha Harvey’s novel about an architect afflicted with Alzheimer’s was John Bayley’s account of Booker Prize-winner Iris Murdoch’s struggles with the disease.

Bayley’s ‘Iris trilogy’ alerted Harvey to the fact that ‘No other physical illness taps into the big and difficult questions of life in quite the way Alzheimer’s does - time, aging, remembering, forgetting, relating, and so on’ - the stuff of literature. Harvey has been called a ‘philosophical writer’, she studied philosophy as a postgraduate student, and has written four very different novels to date. She is also the author of The Shapeless Unease, a memoir that investigates a year of living with insomnia - a condition that still affects her. 

Samantha Harvey

All nominated books

The Wilderness