Narrative non-fiction, memoir.
Three months mentoring.
I came to writing later in life, after a successful career as a television producer. My first book, Patient H69: The Story of my Second Sight (Bloomsbury) was The Times Best Memoir 2017, and both a BBC Focus and Amazon Best Science book. My genre is narrative non-fiction in the main, but I am passionate about making neuroscience accessible and engaging to the wider public. I have written for Marie-Claire, The Telegraph and Mosaic Science.
My speciality is telling real stories in a relatable, fascinating and gripping way. I have run mentor and training programmes in the past and love working with creative people who are passionate about what they do. I run a writers’ group in SE London that offers feedback and writing support (which I also learn from!) I’m also a qualified executive coach and often use a hybrid of coaching and mentoring in my approach. I firmly believe every writer knows the story they want to tell, my job is to just help them breath life into it.
Patient H69: The Story of my Second Sight:
Imagine how it would feel to one day wake up and find your vision descending swiftly into darkness. Your fingertips are turning numb, and, as the world closes in around you, you realise there is nothing you can do to stop it. This is what happened to Vanessa Potter.
In the space of 72 hours, Vanessa went from juggling a high-flying career as a producer and caring for her two small children to being completely blind, unable to walk, and with her sense of touch completely gone.
Over the course of the next six months, Vanessa slowly began to recover. Opening her eyes onto a black-and-white world with mutating shapes and colours that crackled and fizzled, she encountered a visual landscape that was completely unrecognisable. As colour reappeared, Vanessa experienced a range of bizarre phenomena as her confused brain tried to make sense of the world around her, and she found herself touching and talking to inanimate objects in order to stimulate her vision - all part of her brain's mechanism for coping with the trauma of sensory loss.
Going blind led Vanessa to turn science sleuth, reinventing herself as Patient H69 to uncover the reality behind her unique condition. With the help of a team of psychologists and neuroscientists, we follow her story as she learns the science of herself, making discoveries that will positively change the course of her life.
Vanessa's account is raw and candid, but ultimately upbeat. It shows how this remarkable woman opened doors by transforming her terrifying experience into an inspirational and scientifically fascinating endeavour.
'Patient H69 reads like a thriller...It is an extraordinary book. What begins as a surreal nightmare of decline becomes a rallying triumph of will and spirit.' The Times
'For once, the adjectives slathered on a Dramatic First-Person Journey (raw, candid, tragic, inspiring) are warranted.' Times Higher Education Supplement
'Brilliant, insightful, and inspiring. As Potter explores the science behind her condition, she celebrates the remarkable adaptability and flexibility of the human brain and gives us tools to overcome even the deepest traumas.' Susan R. Barry, author of Fixing My Gaze: A Scientist's Journey into Seeing in Three Dimensions
'Part patient diary, part journey into and out of blindness, part popular science book, this is an engaging and at times heart-breakingly sad account of what can happen when we lose our sight. A must read for anyone who does not see the world as others do and who wants to know why.' Hannah Thompson, Reader at Royal Holloway, University of London, and author of the Blind Spot blog
Read more about Vanessa's debut novel Patient H69: The Story Of My Second Sight here >>