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Last Updated: Saturday, 29 September 2007, 09:23 GMT 10:23 UK
'Therapy' of mother's debut book
Nia Wyn and her son Joe
It was only when I was about halfway through I realised it was a story and a story that maybe should be told
Nia Wyn
A writer's debut book on coming to terms with her young son's disability has been hailed as a "quiet classic".

Now former journalist Nia Wyn's Blue Sky July has been chosen as both BBC Radio 4's Book of the Week and WH Smith's Book of the Month for October.

It is a lyrical account of her life with Joe, nine, who has cerebral palsy.

Ms Wyn, who grew up in Prestatyn and lives in Cardiff, said: "Tragedy often has a way of connecting you more deeply with the world".

She said the account was her "therapy" as she and Joe's father Alex battled to defy medical predictions that their son would have little quality of life.

She said "We were given no hope for his life. We were told that he would never see, he would never know us and certainly he wouldn't walk and talk.

"It was just horrendous. Your whole life is just tipped upside down.

"The journey began when we decided to fight against that, for Joe."

She said they tried every kind of therapy and treatment available, as well as alternative healers, eventually building a light room in their home to provide Joe with stimulation.

'Incredible breakthroughs'

She added: "It's quite a traumatic journey because you will do anything to heal your child, but there is no official route you can go down.

"Little by little he made incredible breakthroughs, seeing, being able to speak. His speech is still affected by his condition but we were thrilled about that.

"He went from being told he wouldn't even know us to attending mainstream school."

Throughout these years, often after Joe woke at night and needed attention, Ms Wyn, 45, who has worked as a journalist in Wales and London, wrote down her thoughts.

The book explores the impact on her thoughts and feelings, and the effect on her home life, love life - the couple eventually parted but Ms Wyn said her ex-partner was still very involved in Joe's life - as well her friendships and connections.

She said: "It was only diary jottings. It was only when I was about halfway through I realised it was a story and a story that may be should be told.

'A mother's love'

"It was such a personal book I questioned whether it was the right thing to send it off, it was a bit like sending off a piece of your heart.

"Now that the book is out and I'm starting to get letters back, it's really lovely. I think it was the right thing to do.

"With children with a serious condition, you can have the same wonderful times with your children as other parents, it's often how we look at these things."

She has embarked on a creative writing course at Cardiff University and plans to write another book after that.

Among those to have praised it is Britain's most successful paralympian, Cardiff-born Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, who said: "My emotions were everywhere when I was reading it, I felt sad, even angry at times, but ultimately it is the wonderful story of a mother's love for her son."

Author and broadcaster Yvonne Roberts called it "unputdownable and utterly compelling... a quiet classic," while Dame Vera Lynn said it was a "book that is full of joy."

Blue Sky July will be BBC Radio 4's Book of the Week from 15 -19 October.

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