The Cure for Sleep: On waking up, breaking free and making a more creative life by Tanya Shadrick (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) - paperback cover. 

'A book with the power to change your life' Jenny Landreth

'Courageous, compassionate' Daily Mirror

'Moving and inspiring' Amy Liptrot

'Fearless' Katherine May

Tanya Shadrick Author Photo

I’m Tanya Shadrick, author of The Cure for Sleep: my story of waking up, breaking free and making a more creative life – even as I remained a wife and mother in a small town.
Here’s where you can start to turn your own creative dreams into reality by finding like-minds, discovering life-changing stories, and exploring new ways to make art from the everyday.
There’s also a way to share your own true tales…

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“A sublimely written account of refusing to be defined by social constructs and embracing life-enhancing change, The Cure for Sleep is a poignant and inspiring slice of literary memoir.”

A WATERSTONES Non-Fiction Book for 2022

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“Shadrick wrote The Cure for Sleep to chart her reinvention from shy, small-town outsider to someone stamping their presence on artistic and literary life…and she wants to help others follow in her footsteps.”


“Apprenticeships were always seven years: why not place yourself in service to your dream or ambition for that long, using every spare minute on it. Ask yourself: What would you begin now and persist with if you were guaranteed 10 or 20 years in which to master it?”

TAnya Shadrick for BBC RADIO 4 WOMAN’S HOUR

Tanya Shadrick: “Begin by making a list of what you love. It is transformative”


“Tender…ferocious…This luminous debut charts how the author pledged to radically change her life after nearly dying following the birth of her first child.”

Listen to Tanya in conversation with Sharon Blackie
Tanya Shadrick for Sharon Blackie's This Mythic Life

Listen to Tanya in conversation with Katherine May
Tanya Shadrick for The Wintering Sessions with Katherine May

Listen to Tanya in conversation with Melissa Febos
Melissa Febos & Tanya Shadrick for Pages of Hackney

“Where does it begin – our turn away from risk and adventure? Why do so many of us hide in routine, shrink from opportunity?”

the cure for sleep

“Shadrick is a thoughtful, poetically articulate interviewee. Her vantage point is one that she tells expressively in her debut book, The Cure for Sleep. It’s ambitious in its scope, a memoir telling her journey from rural working-class Devon to where she is today.”

The Telegraph
Tanya Shadrick in residence at the Jan Michalski Foundation, Switzerland - credit Wiktoria Bosc
The Jan Michalski Foundation, Switzerland

“Honest, raw, powerful – in mesmerising prose Shadrick has produced a profound exposition of how a woman might fully inhabit her own life, even while attending to wider family ties and responsibilities. Personal yet universal, a truly thought-provoking read.

Sussex Life

“Absorbing…robust, declarative even, but there is also something disquieting in this memoir… for Shadrick, to be a woman, an artist and a mother still seems something not quite of this world: a fairy tale that puzzles her even though – or perhaps because – it came true.”

the TLS

“Absolutely gorgeous. If you like lyrical, beautiful, searching non-fiction, then you’ll love The Cure for Sleep”

Melissa Febos, author of Girlhood

“Fearless in her depiction of female desire – many women will find themselves in these pages”

Katherine May, author of Wintering

“I love this book. Tanya’s story is moving and inspiring. Her thoughts and writing are well considered, courageous and true: real art. Just reading her is pleasure”

Amy Liptrot, author of The Outrun

“How to live. How to die. How to reach back with understanding, even as we were going beyond the ones we’d loved. In that perpetual minute which I believed might be my last, time past spread itself out like a quilt. I held my life to the light, studying its pattern and rips and repairs. Determined – if only for my own self-respect – to die wise, clear-sighted. The most awake I’d ever been.”


“Beautiful, moving, honest: a masterclass in the fine art of authentically reimagining the self”

Sharon Blackie, author of If Women Rose Rooted

“I finished this wonderful book with tears in my eyes. A book about daring to be, daring to head out, to encounter truths and to understand what place desire must have and must not have in a life. It is beautifully written, both careful and passionate, both slight and strong in its gestures like the best of art, and astonishingly, heartrendingly open. Intensity, beauty, subtlety, pain and courage – all are here”

Adam Nicolson, author of The Making of Poetry

“A story about struggle, class, opportunity (taken and wasted), art, sex and desire. About how to live, once you’ve faced down death, and how to love. In laying out her life, Tanya has created a book with the capacity to change yours”

Jenny Landreth, author Swell: A Waterbiography

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“A viscerally honest account of two lives, the second lived more fully, more fearlessly, as wife, mother, friend, feminist, risk-taker, hospice scribe, consummate writer – and completely, impressively her own person”

Rose Shepherd, SAGA

“A daring and enchantingly written blend of memoir and self-help, which urges us to consider, at any age, breaking the spell of our inherited longings for love, approval, safety and rescue, and doing what we are actually called to do with our one wild and precious life”

Caroline Sanderson, an Editor’s Choice in The Bookseller

“An empowering memoir about the relentless will to survive, the ambiguity of motherhood, the tumult of middle age, the incandescence of love, the tensions between freedom and commitment, and the courage to transcend past selves…Shadrick challenges us all to wake up”

Dr Skye Cleary, author of How to Be You: Simone de Beauvoir and the Art of Authentic Living