I was privileged to be at the launch in Sydney of the humble and uber talented Matt Ottley's new book 'The Tree of Ecstasy and Unbearable Sadness'. There were many people there to help him celebrate including his partner and fellow author/illustrator Tina Wilson, longtime friend and Room to Read advocate Jennie Orchard, and another longtime friend and publisher Margrete Lamond. This was a true experience of story with Matt’s excruciatingly beautiful text and illustrations, his partner Tina’s quietly haunting, absorbing narration, and accompanying music composed by Matt that pierced the heart - one moment plunging you to the depths of despair, the next filling you with beauty and bliss. This is not a story for the faint hearted as it deals with the subject of mental health and psychosis, but it is one that should be read and experienced in all its multi modal glory as it is so painfully honest, uplifting and inspiring. This is a much needed story to help young adults navigate difficult conversations about mental health. This is a ground breaking, must have book for secondary libraries.
With Matt at the book launch
Matt in conversation with publisher Margrete Lamond