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Reasons to Stay Alive

My new book is called Reasons to Stay Alive. It’s out now in UK published by Canongate. Here’s the cover:Untitled 6

This is the blurb from the book:


Aged 24, Matt Haig’s world caved in. He could see no way to go on living. This is the true story of how he came through crisis, triumphed over an illness that almost destroyed him and learned to live again.

A moving, funny and joyous exploration of how to live better, love better and feel more alive, Reasons to Stay Alive is more than a memoir. It is a book about making the most of your time on earth.

‘I wrote this book because the oldest clichés remain the truest. Time heals. The bottom of the valley never provides the clearest view. The tunnel does have light at the end of it, even if we haven’t been able to see it . . . Words, just sometimes, really can set you free.’

It’s getting some lovely reviews:

“For anyone who has faced the black dog, or felt despair, this marvellous book is a real comfort, dealing sympathetically with depression, written with candour and from first-hand experience. I think it is a small masterpiece. It might even save lives” JOANNA LUMLEY

“A really great read, and essential to our collective well-being” JO BRAND

“Maybe the most important book I’ve read this year” SIMON MAYO

“A life-saving book” AMANDA CRAIG

“Brings a difficult and sensitive subject out of the darkness and into the light” MICHAEL PALIN

“Full of wisdoms and warmth” NATHAN FILER

“Matt Haig is a marvellous writer: limpid; tender; passionate. In this memoir (and it’s short, barely 200 pages long), he manages to articulate, both the bleakness of depression and the means of dealing with it, little by little, day by day, without ever sounding maudlin, or self-indulgent, or preachy. For everyone who has ever felt the snap of the black dog’s teeth, this book is wise, funny, affirming and redemptive. Sometimes depression can be like falling into a wordless pit. Matt Haig finds the words. And he says them for all of us” JOANNE HARRIS

Reasons to Stay Alive is wonderful. I read it in one sitting. Touching, funny, thought-provoking, with a huge heart. It should be read by anyone who has suffered, or known someone who has suffered (i.e.. everyone)” S J WATSON

“Fascinating and beautifully written” IAN RANKIN

“Thoughtful, honest and incredibly insightful” JENNY COLGAN

“Brilliant and salutary . . . should be on prescription” REV. RICHARD COLES

It’s going to be published in America by Viking, Germany by DTV, Canada by Harper Collins.


  1. And I will buy it.

  2. I am 24 now and have struggled with depression for years. I am so looking forward to reading this book especially after devouring The Humans, which I found really touching. I follow you on twitter and really appreciate you speaking out about mental health. So important. Keep doing what your doing :) from a shy fan.

  3. Kim Cook says:

    Hi. I heard (bits of) your interview with Simon Mayo on BBC R2 yesterday. I have a friend whom I believe has depression. I’m obviously not qualified to diagnose but to put it bluntly, she doesnt want to live. She says if she could give her life to someone with a terminal illness she would definitely do it. She is not happy but does not appear to want to be either. I’m strongly considering buying your book so i can understand better. However, do you think it is a good read for someone who has depression (her). She has not seeked help because she has no desire to improve her life. Any advice?
    Many thanks

    • Sharon Williams says:

      Hello and thanks for sharing your experiences. I’ve bought it for my 21 year old son to go with his Easter eggs. He thinks he has ‘existential’ depression. He despairs at the state of the planet, as well as the mentality of 21st century society. He really cannot see the point of going through the daily work/eat/sleep cycle and then dying.

      I hope this helps him and he is renergised, and then lends it to me!

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  6. Linda Thompson says:

    Just watched your interview on BBC breakfast. I,like you thought I was the only person ever to have experienced the complete utter panic of acute anxiety and depression. When in full flow you do believe there is no way you can survive it. Thank you for your honesty and ability to bring depression into the public domain. I have survived and with ongoing medication am now living life at 80 percent. Your book will help thousands of people gain some understanding about this illness and hopefully make it easier to discuss.

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  8. Imogen Brian says:

    Really looking forward to Reasons to Stay Alive being published in Canada (soon, I hope).
    I hear such amazing things about it (and about you) on Twitter. Thank you for such a generous gift to the world.

  9. Jill Mumford says:

    I will share with the 150 students I support with mental health difficulties at our college. Thank you. Jill Additional Learning Support :)

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