Interview with Joanne Harris

Author of CHOCOLAT

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Gilbert's Girl
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Interview with Joanne Harris

Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Tue Sep 05, 2006 4:11 am

'Typing was a problem, which was a nightmare'Sep 4 2006

By The Huddersfield Daily Examiner

BEST-SELLING author Joanne Harris has carved out an enviable career.
Her novels have received worldwide critical and readership acclaim.
Her best-known novel, Chocolat, was made into a much-loved film, starring Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche.
But Joanne's very future as a writer came into question when she was diagnosed with Dupuytren's contracture, a rare progressive disease that affects tissue on the palm of the hand.
This summer the 42-year- old, who lives in Almondbury, had corrective surgery on her hand at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.

Joanne discovered a mysterious lump in the palm of her hand two years ago.
At first she feared it was cancerous.
Her GP thought it was a ganglion, fluid-filled cyst.
In an interview Joanne said: "A few months later I noticed the lump had grown.
"It had lengthened and appeared to be spreading up the tendon, towards my little finger. Then the finger began to contract and I found I could no longer place my hand flat on the table.
"I returned to my GP, who immediately diagnosed Dupuytren's contracture and referred me to a specialist."
The disease has strong genetic links; both Joanne's father and grandfather contracted it.

Joanne added: "I found out that my finger would probably continue to contract as the disease progressed.
"The tissue in the palm thickens and pulls it inwards.
"I would need an operation to remove the hardened tissue and free the finger."
Joanne said she was worried about the risks associated with surgery, such as loss of feeling or mobility in her fingers.
But when her finger had bent to the point of a 50-degree angle she knew she had to act fast.
Joanne had her operation two months ago.

It was done by Sudhi Ankarath, a consultant hand and orthopaedic surgeon at the Royal Infirmary.
Joanne recalled: "By then, the mobility of my hand had become impeded and certain activities were impossible.
"Typing became a problem - which for me was rather a nightmare."
Joanne's operation was a success and, as she explains to fans on her website, she can now get back to concentrating on deadlines.
She added: "I have discovered that one of the great advantages of being a rotten typist is that the loss of a finger barely makes a difference.
"So I have been able to write as usual.
"My novel is coming on reasonably well, though I am nearing that troublesome 150-page mark, when confidence slips, plot strands get tangled and all previous ideas reveal themselves to have already been done far better by someone else.
"However, I know from experience that this always happens.
"All I have to do is keep on going."
Joanne has been an inspiration to aspiring writers in Huddersfield.
She is patron of the town's annual literary festival and has encouraged creative writing students into the profession.

Interestingly I believe Bill Nighy (Davy Jones) also has this disease or something similar.

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Unread postby Liz » Tue Sep 05, 2006 11:58 am

That's :interesting: , Gilbert's Girl--interesting that she kept that quiet from us--not that we asked the right question. She responded to our questions a month after surgery. Poor thing. :-/ :thanks!: for passing that along, GG. Also interesting about Bill Nighy, since it is such a rare disease.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

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Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Wed Sep 06, 2006 2:59 am

Yes, and as far as I know Bill Nighy hasn't had surgery. You can see it all his films his fingers are closed over his palms ,not all of them. Before I found out why I thought he was missing some fingers :-/

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Sep 06, 2006 9:23 pm

Thanks for sharing that, GG. I feel very fortunate that she responded to our request.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!

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