Reading and Mental Health

  • Josie Billington

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xix
  2. Josie Billington
    Pages 1-11
  3. Reading and Health: Medicine to Literature, Literature to Therapy

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 13-13
    2. Grace Farrington, Philip Davis
      Pages 31-45
    3. Grace Farrington, Philip Davis, Josie Billington
      Pages 47-68
  4. Practices

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 69-69
    2. Clare Ellis, Eleanor McCann, Anne Line Dalsgård
      Pages 71-90
    3. Katie Clark, Charlotte Weber, Susan McLaine
      Pages 91-110
    4. Alexis McNay, Charles Darby-Villis, Josie Billington, Ann Walmsley
      Pages 111-133
    5. Grace Farrington, Kate McDonnell, Helen Cook
      Pages 135-151
  5. Research Methodologies

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 153-153
    2. Jude Robinson, Josie Billington, Ellie Gray, Melissa Chapple
      Pages 155-190
    3. Josie Billington, Philip Davis, Grace Farrington, Kelda Green, Fiona Magee, Mette Steenberg et al.
      Pages 191-240
    4. Sofia Lampropoulou, Kremena Koleva, Kevin Harvey, Gavin Brookes, with Josie Billington, Philip Davis
      Pages 241-263
    5. Josie Billington, Rhiannon Corcoran, Megan Watkins, Mette Steenberg, Charlotte Christiansen, Nicolai Ladegaard et al.
      Pages 265-292
    6. Philip Davis, Rhiannon Corcoran, Rick Rylance, Adam Zeman, David Kidd, Christophe de Bezenac
      Pages 293-320
  6. Towards a Theoretical Understanding of Reading and Health

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 321-321
    2. David Fearnley, Grace Farrington
      Pages 323-329
    3. Adam Phillips, Philip Davis
      Pages 359-368
  7. Reading and Health: Implementation—Barriers and Enablers

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 369-369
    2. Ellie Gray, Grace Farrington, Mette Steenberg
      Pages 371-394
    3. Martin Orrell, Tom Dening, Nusrat Husain, Sally Rimkeit, Gillian Claridge, Dalice Sim
      Pages 395-418
    4. Nick Benefield, Kathryn Naylor, Fiona Magee
      Pages 419-431
    5. Andrew Jones, James Ledson, Kate McDonnell
      Pages 433-441
  8. Josie Billington, Rhiannon Corcoran, Megan Watkins, Mette Steenberg, Charlotte Christiansen, Nicolai Ladegaard et al.
    Pages C1-C1
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 443-455

About this book


This book brings together into one edited volume the most compelling rationales for literary reading and health, the best current practices in this area and state of the art research methodologies. It consolidates the findings and insights of this burgeoning field of enquiry across diverse disciplines and groups: psychologists, neurologists, and social scientists; literary scholars, writers and philosophers; medical researchers and practitioners; reading charities and arts organisations. 

Following introductory chapters on the literary-historical background to reading and health, the book is divided into four key sections. The first part focuses on Practices, showcasing reading interventions and cultures in clinical and community mental health care and in secure settings. This is followed by Research Methodologies, featuring innovative qualitative and quantitative approaches, and by a section covering Theory, with chapters from eminent thinkers in psychiatry, psychology and psychoanalysis. The final part is concerned with Implementation, incorporating perspectives from health professionals, commissioners and reading practitioners.

This innovate work explains why reading matters in health and wellbeing, and offers a foundational text to future scholars in the field and to health professionals and policy-makers in relation to the embedding of reading practices in professional health care.  

Josie Billington is Reader in English Literature and Deputy Director of the Centre for Research into Reading, Literature and Society at the University of Liverpool, UK. She has published widely on Victorian fiction and poetry and on interdisciplinary studies of the value of literary reading for health, including Is Literature Healthy? (2016).


cognition theory of mind human science mentalisation pain therapy Psychologically Informed Planned Environements dementia clinical psychology occupational therapy Shared Reading self-harm corpus linguistics The Prison Book Club community mental health reading therapy

Editors and affiliations

  • Josie Billington
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Research into Reading, Literature and SocietyUniversity of LiverpoolLiverpoolUK

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