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Hardy Animal


‘A few weeks after I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, I made a pact with dying. I wrote draft suicide notes and planned my ‘exit’; not because I’d lost a chunk of my physical usefulness – most days, I can’t walk more than 200 metres and can’t use my right hand for more than a few hours – but because it turns out I’m the worst kind of candidate for an illness like MS.’

Taken from ‘Hardy Animal’ by M.J. Hyland in Granta 120: Medicine, in Granta 119: Medicine, available for download now and in bookshops from 23 August.

Illustration by Francesco Bongiorni / Eastwing.

You can also see M.J. Hyland at the following events:

The Medicine Launch
5 September, 6.30 p.m., Foyles, 113-119 Charing Cross Road London WC2H 0EB. Free. RSVP to to reserve your seat.

From the chalky horse-pills of faceless pharmaceutical conglomerates to the hot toddy that was Grandmother’s remedy for bruised knees, broken hearts and everything besides – Granta 120: Medicine explores the stories of how we face our ailments and the ways we seek to cure ourselves. Join Granta deputy editor Ellah Allfrey and contributors Ike Anya, M.J. Hyland and Suzanne Rivecca to launch the Medicine issue with readings, conversation and drinks.

The Art of Medicine
30 September, 6 p.m., Small Wonder Festival, Charleston, Firle, Lewes, East Sussex, BN8 6LL. Ticket details to come.

To coincide with Granta magazine’s Medicine issue, contributing authors M.J. Hyland and A.L. Kennedy are joined by writer Adam Marek to read from their work and to discuss whether or not telling a story is the best tonic. Novelist and short story writer M.J. Hyland will reveal her struggles with a degenerative condition; author and stand-up comic A.L. Kennedy explores the mysteries and maladies of the body and her own brushes with the NHS. Adam Marek’s new collection of stories, The Stone Thrower, chronicles the experience of caring for a child with special needs. Chaired by Sigrid Rausing, Granta’s publisher.

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