Publisher snaps up writer Roz Bellamy’s memoir ‘Mood’

Roz Bellamy

Publisher Wakefield Press has announced the acquisition of world rights to Roz Bellamy’s Mood, a memoir exploring the intersections of mental illness, queerness, gender diversity and Jewish identity.

Bellamy is the online editor at Archer magazine and has just completed the prestigious US literary publisher Tin House’s Summer Workshop, working on the manuscript for Mood.

Last year, Mood was longlisted for the Kill Your Darlings Unpublished Manuscript Award. An earlier version was shortlisted for the Scribe Nonfiction Prize.

“I’m thrilled that Wakefield Press will be publishing my debut memoir,” Bellamy said. “I’ve admired Wakefield Press for many years and I’m so excited to be joining their list of authors.”

Wakefield Press associate publisher Jo Case says that when she noticed Bellamy was writing a memoir, she was intrigued, and thought about asking to read it. She’d admired Bellamy’s essay in Growing Up Queer in Australia (Black Inc.), and their essay exploring queer and Jewish identity in Living and Loving in Diversity, an anthology published by Wakefield Press in 2018 (edited by Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli).

Then a colleague, Wakefield senior editor Julia Beaven, mentioned the manuscript had just been submitted to her.

“I talked about how much I wanted to read it until she gave it to me to take home, possibly to shut me up,’ Case said. ‘As well as Roz’s essays, I’d read their pieces in The Guardian, Meanjin and SBS, and I was excited by the combination of their inquiring, intelligent mind and the material they were exploring. Roz’s candour, unflinching gaze and flair for personal writing come together in Mood to create a compelling personal journey embedded in psychology and experience. I’m so looking forward to working with them on it.”

Bellamy has been widely published as a freelance writer in various places, including Crikey, Sydney Morning Herald, Kill Your Darlings, Overland and The Big Issue. They are a PhD candidate at the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society at La Trobe University researching life writing as a creative health promotion method.

“From the first time we talked, I could tell that Jo and the team really connected with my memoir and that they share a very similar vision for it,” Bellamy said. “I’m excited for my book to reach readers soon!”

Roz Bellamy is a first-generation Jewish Australian who grew up in a progressive family, attending an orthodox school. Roz, who identifies as nonbinary, met their wife, Rachel, as a university student, as the pair made their first tentative forays into queer culture – and fell in love – through a Buffy the Vampire Slayer online message board.

As a young teacher, Roz’s longstanding anxiety intensified, as past trauma of being bullied in their own schooldays and the creeping toll of antisemitism in the classroom undermined their burning desire to be the ‘perfect’ teacher.

Therapy to treat their distress became a deeper inquiry. As Roz began to investigate and unfurl the various strands of their identity, and how they intersect to make them who they are, they were handed more pieces of the puzzle, with diagnoses of bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder.

Mood is a story about love, family and self-fulfilment, while living with mental illness. It’s also a candid, absorbing inquiry into the self, and the rewards of embracing who you are, in all its complexity and contradictions. Even – especially – when it’s hard. 

Source: Media Release

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