I love this book, the first ever graphic novel I have ever read and quite possibly the best one I have ever read about schizophrenia. I am not sure how to explain why it is so good; there are few words in it, it seems to demonise psychiatry and has a character with thoughts and feelings most people would shy away from expressing. And yet it is so utterly real, it grabbed my breath in a way no other book has done and gave me that sense of connection and understanding I rarely achieve in real life… A raw, honest, tragic and very, very, real book about the life of Ravi’s brother and people like me.
Graham Morgan MBE, Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland
Thank you so much for your kind words. I can tell from your insightful comments that you have an appreciation of what I was trying to convey about my experiences. My word beginning with C from your workshop was ‘chaos’ and, at the time, I thought I would not be able to create something from chaos, let alone a graphic depiction of something that feels so incoherent. It’s been really powerful to be able to do this – thank you all so much for giving me the opportunity to learn and contribute to this process.
Tamsin Sargeant, Participant, London
Having the opportunity to take part in this graphic project allowed me to really discover what I hadn’t allowed myself to feel. Breaking that verboden taboo in myself made me lighter in spirit.
Rosa Macpherson, Participant, Clackmannanshire
Please allow us to share that it was a real pleasure to participate in the workshop and that all our interactions with you were filled with empathy and care.
Carmen Moguel, Participant, Cadiz
The medium of graphic stories/novel is very powerful, and a great way to get people involved and to start to understand some of the many issues. I have read the novel and congratulate you and all the team on producing an amazing and powerful story which I am sure will resonate with anyone who reads it. As ever in my experience, good communication is the key and the novel certainly meets this challenge. The stories and creativity of the workshop attendees I think are amazing. I hope that the individuals have benefited from telling their story as much as I have. I find it helps me to talk about the issues and I always try to find a way to move forward.
Jo Williamson, Participant, Dundee
I am in awe at the creativity shown by those who took part in the workshop, congratulations to you and your team for helping to draw this out and encourage us to be creative. Being involved with Ziggy’s Wish has been one of the highlights of my year.
Alasdair Ferguson, Participant, Edinburgh
It’s a rare way to capture moments and memories, and while some of them have layers I’m still living and am yet to process, I feel physically lighter having had a chance to capture the experience in my own way. It means so much and I didn’t know how energizing it would be for me and also, how nice to share with my partner, some of the moments. This has been intense and while the topics are hard, it doesn’t FEEL hard to do, it FEELs fun. I love that about creativity!!! So again, THANK YOU!
Cissy White, Participant, Massachusetts
The ScotPEN Wellcome Engagement Award Operational Group are pleased to advise that they have reviewed the report and wish to commend the PI and team.
Becky Hothersall, Co-Pricipal Investigator, Glasgow
I was sitting in a circle with people affected by cancer and fellow researchers, as Ravi from Ziggy’s Wish held the engagement meeting we’d all come along to. We were discussing the proposed characters for the graphic novel – their stories and backstories, what felt authentic or what didn’t, how the ideas reflected our study and how they resonated with those in the room who themselves had lived experienced of personalised cancer medicine. It was very inspiring, hearing the narrative develop… but it was also very emotional, in a restrained but deeply felt way… I thought more about that over the next few days, trying to put my finger on what exactly it was about the meeting that had been so quietly powerful. I came to the conclusion that working with Ziggy’s Wish, in that room on that day, had simply made our work feel more human.
Prof. Sarah Cunningham-Burley, Co-Director, Lead and Dean, University of Edinburgh
Dorothy – Tony – Tracy – Vashti – Helen – Jameel – Seamus, Participants, Salford
I want to thank you for that book. It is like holding something that Nicholas Cage would be staring at in awe while it glowed gold for him to be stealing… It was beyond rewarding as a read… The insight was beautiful… I was sitting in a dunkin donuts reading it and tearing up at its very blatant relation to my life.
Alan Cicco, Ohio
Outstanding examples of how the graphic novel can connect with its audience on an emotional level in ways that other media cannot.
Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier, London
Working with Ziggy’s Wish reminded me that, as creators and storytellers, we already have many of the tools needed to solve the social issues of our day – we just need to deploy them in the right way. I saw this first hand when collaborating with Ziggy’s Wish to bring older people with dementia and clinical practitioners together to better understand one another. The response was extraordinary and resulted in meaningful organisational reform. Since then I’ve judged a company not merely by the stories they’ve told, but by the change they’ve made.
Trevor MacFarlane FRSA, European Parliament Head of Office for Labour MEP
Perhaps what I love the most about working with Ravi and Ziggy’s Wish is that everything is a collaboration. There will certainly be a brief, and a goal to achieve, but each step to get there is a discussion rather than an instruction. Your opinion is respected, valued, and often-times ultimately acted upon. The result is is that your work is no longer just a job – it’s a joy.
John Grey, Filmmaker, Manchester
The book you created is beautiful. I mean that for the quality of the content and the choices of form and style that define it’s shape… as much as for the act of making it itself.
Gabriel Rako, Isreal
The things that impressed me most about Ziggy’s Wish were passion, creativity and a genuinely collaborative spirit. Working with them was a catalyst for my own research and had a transformative effect on my work, as well as that of students.
Matt Green, Associate Professor in English Literature, Nottingham
The book is raw, honest and bears the conflict and suffering of the inner soul of one crying out for help, caught in a web of lack of trust in the system, self-doubt and yet with a strong urge to be whole. Which begs the question how do we who surround people living in this every day conflict of mind, how do we help and make a difference, how do we unlock their talent; value and place worth on these individuals? The graphics enhance the darkness and hard edges of the depth of emotion and hopelessness in the poems, which rock back and forth between reality, illness and fantasy… A must read for a host of reasons and, like me, I’m sure you’ll find yours once you’ve read the book.
Lesmond Taylor, Health and Social Care Development Worker, Salford
It was powerful, I think it moved everyone in the audience to tears. I want everybody to see it… Many of our friends don’t really understand what dementia is like. This is as powerful of an representation of dementia as I’ve seen.
Alan Miles, Carer & Strategist Care Combined, Salford
A wonderful way to give words and images to personal suffering and an unknown, stigmatized world… If you have experience with people in your environment who suffer from a mental illness, then this [graphic novel] knows how to lift something from the veil and provide insight into what that means for the patient and his environment.
Inge Janse, The Netherlands
Working with Ziggy’s Wish is like attending a masterclass in conceiving the perfect creative environment. As a writer I felt like the emphasis was always on creative freedom and collaboration. They definitely got the best out of me, and the projects are always unique, interesting and extremely worthwhile.
Laura Harper, Writer, Manchester
A beautiful and incredibly poignant work that was impossible to leave alone…. This book is a message in a bottle reminding us that we are human, we are loved. It’s something special to be understood on this profound level… It’s something even more special to behold a message that you have been heard.
Jules Valera, Mental Health Lived Experience
It was superb. The film took something quite abstract like a clinical trial and made it very human, very approachable. It was beautifully done, very sensitive. The script was excellent. It captured dementia [and] captured the emotional problems of the young girl. Very powerful.
Iracema Leroi, Professor of Dementia in Aging and Psychiatry, Manchester
Of all the work I’ve done over the past few years perhaps the most worthwhile and enjoyable was Sasha’s Trial for Ziggy’s Wish. The unique experience of live performance followed by a film shoot – two different directors, two different disciplines – was very special. Surrounded by committed and professional production staff and crew plus a hugely talented co-actor (the wonderful Mollie Lambert) it was, to borrow a quote, ‘the stuff that dreams are made of’. To know that I was able to contribute to such a worthwhile piece of work, covering the twin topics of teenage angst and the onset of dementia is very satisfying indeed.
John Smeathers, Actor, Manchester
A powerful window showing the plight of a schizophrenic sufferer. A bold and necessary piece of graphic storytelling indeed.
Jon Turner, Your Days Are Numbered, London
I was moved to tears in several places, by certain incidents or nuances that created a deep, emotional resonance within me.
Jonathan Rigby, Page 45, Nottingham
Ravi crafts a safe but aspirational space; which can help artists, practitioners and other stakeholders to share their ideas and experiences. She has a knack for delivering important messages with a grace and wisdom that helps the listener feel held when considering [complex] issues. The work of Ziggy’s Wish is truly inspirational, and the feedback from our recent Arts in Health event highlights how effective their communication is.
Kat Taylor, Clinical Psychologist & Researcher, Preston
Graphic novels are not usually things I am drawn to, but it all really works so well! The story is really moving, and told beautifully. It has made me think a lot about people I know who are or have experienced psychosis, and reflect on the way they are treated by people, services and by me!
Sarah Radford, Manchester
What was so powerful about Ravi’s talk to the disabled staff at University of Manchester was the unassuming and quietly spoken way she delivered it. She told a multilayered story with purpose and clarity. This made the impact of the innovative work Ziggy’s Wish does resonate strongly with a diverse audience.
Hormoz Ahmadzadeh, Director Result CIC, Salford
Although it’s easy to feel heartbroken by the end of a work whose subject matter is mental illness, the reader instead feels strangely comforted. Like listening to the blues, the process of reading Thornton’s graphic novel is cathartic and speaks to us about a shared experience… Indeed, we can only come away from with a fuller and more profound understanding about schizophrenia and its impact.
Dr Glen Downey, Sequart Organization, Ontario
An extraordinarily powerful and brave narrative… But it is also a beautifully crafted and very real story that commands your attention. It is also a brutal and raw story, there’s no denying, but it is one that gives hope.
Matthew Charlton. The Digital Fix Geek:Life
The great thing about working for Ravi is that even though I barely knew what I was doing, she still completely respected my opinions and work as an artist, and her guidance was always in the most supportive nature…. It was exhausting, but it taught me a hell of a lot about narrative; Ravi patiently helped me through whilst I felt my own way through each panel and page. It was a very rewarding experience.
Rozi Hathaway, Illustrator, Bournemouth
Developing as a writer is a difficult task, a bit like trying to land an aeroplane blindfolded. Through a fantastic plan, I felt like the karate kid completing each seemingly unconnected task initially before I could see the wisdom of it all. Not only have I grown and learned, I’ve been able to find my passion for writing and look to the future with enthusiasm for the stories I’m yet to tell. I couldn’t have done this without Ravi. I’m eternally grateful.
Alec Calderbank, Mentee Writer, Greater Manchester
Really powerful tools to help people explore the issues faced by so many who live with schizophrenia.
Joanna Huddart, Business Development Support Worker, Manchester Mind
I sat in on Ravi and Jordi’s talk this year in Brighton not knowing what I was in for, but came away with actionable insights and a new perspective on the benefits of inclusive design. The introduction to HOAX was inspiring, and seeing the work that went into it cemented it as a master work in my eyes!
Tom Gerbicz, Game Designer, Bolton
It was such a pleasure meeting Ravi. Finally someone who speaks my language, she was very inspiring and insightful.
Lee Simms, Event Participant, Manchester
Found a quiet moment to read Hoax. Deeply moving. Don’t want to talk now, just think, and feel.
Read more feedback here