Catching up with Pippa Stacey, Author of 'University and Chronic Illness: A Survival Guide'

'University and Chronic Illness: A Survival Guide' is an insightful and informative gem of a read by Author, Freelance Writer & Blogger, Pippa Stacey from Yorkshire. Pippa acquired her long-term illness as a young adult, being diagnosed during her own years of university and is now known for her work around chronic health conditions, independent living, accessible education and employment.


Above all, Pippa wants people to know that you don't have to 'defy' your condition in order to be successful. She hopes to be able to provide practical insight and advice, always with a touch of humour, to show that there's nobody path to follow but your own. In this Q&A Pippa discusses what she would love her readers to take away from reading this book, her personal writing journey and treats all book lovers to those beautiful rainbow bookshelves!


'University and Chronic Illness: A Survival Guide' is available to purchase from our online website, Amazon and other online retailers (or order through your local indie bookshop). Find out more here.


You can follow Pippa on Instagram, Facebook , Twitter and LinkedIn or take a look at her website.


I found this book so therapeutic to write...it was so cathartic to share everything I’d learned and to know that other people might be able to benefit from it.


How long have you been writing?

PS: I’ve been writing my whole life, and it’s only in recent years that I’ve realised that fact. I’ve been doing some form of journaling, storytelling or blogging just for fun ever since I physically learned how to write, but most of the things I write have never been seen by anybody other than me!

What does success mean to you? What is the definition of success?

PS: As somebody with a chronic illness, I often have to deal with other people’s ideas of success being projected onto me – usually the flawed idea that when you have a long-term condition, a full recovery and physical milestones are the ultimate marker of success. To me, it’s all about redefining success and looking at what you can achieve alongside your chronic illness, rather than overcoming it. I have a *lot* to say on this topic, as you may be able to tell from my TEDx talk in 2019!


Are you on social media and can your readers interact with you?

PS: Social media has been a gamechanger for me – something I’ve enjoyed using for years. You can find me mostly on Twitter and on Instagram, and getting to talk to wonderful humans from all walks about all kinds of stuff and nonsense is one of my favourite things in the world. You can also find more of my writing on my blog, Life Of Pippa.

What was the highlight of writing this book?

PS: I found this book so therapeutic to write for the same reasons outlined above – it was so cathartic to share everything I’d learned and to know that other people might be able to benefit from it. Since publication, one of the biggest highlights of all has been seeing not only students purchasing the book but universities too, so they can become better informed and better support their chronically ill students. That alone means so, so much.


I hope readers find the book a balanced reflection of student life – honest and upfront about the difficulties that might arise, but positive and uplifting to reflect the wonderful times that also lie ahead.

What do you hope your readers take away from this book?

PS: I hope my book at the very least provides a bit of comfort for those who are in the same situation I once was. Navigating university with a chronic illness was full of endless challenges, so I wrote the book that I badly needed myself and simply couldn’t find back then – University And Chronic Illness: A Survival Guide. I hope readers find the book a balanced reflection of student life – honest and upfront about the difficulties that might arise, but positive and uplifting to reflect the wonderful times that also lie ahead.


Who is your favourite author and why?

PS: Just this year I’ve discovered Richard Powers and I don’t even have words for how much I adore his work. At the time of writing I’ve only read two of his books (The Overstory and The Echo Maker) but the subject matters he focusses on and his writing style are just… stunning. I’ve been recommending his work to everybody I talk to!


Favourite book when you were a kid?

PS: Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield will always have a place in my heart, as will Dancing Shoes. I must have read both of those books at least forty times each over the course of my life and yet I still intuitively pick them up whenever I’m looking for a comfort read.


How many bookshelves are in your house?

PS: My rainbow bookcase brings me far too much joy. It’s ideally placed so that whenever I end up horizontal on the sofa during a rough chronic illness day, all my favourite books are in my line of vision – and the colour co-ordination is always quite the hit on Instagram!


What’s your favourite spot to visit in your own country? And what makes it so special to you?

PS: Possibly a dull answer but I love Yorkshire so much – I’ve grown up here and lived here all my life, and yet there’s still so much I feel like I haven’t seen and experienced. I flip between city mode and country mode on a daily (or even hourly) basis so living near the centre of York and having all the gorgeous countryside and rural villages nearby really does make it feel like my happy place.


What do you like to do when you are not writing?

PS: In my free time I adore going to the theatre and indulging in all things stagey, spending time with my friends, and locating the most elite of breakfast spots in my local area. The rest of the time you’ll usually find me at chilling at home in pyjamas, with a cup of tea in hand!

Visit the website! www.lifeofpippablog.co.uk

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