The Sober Diaries is a brave, honest and at times hilarious account of how one woman gave up drinking and started living.

After partying hard through university – this was the era of the “ladette” and Bridget Jones, when an entire generation of women learned to drink far harder than their mothers and grandmothers ever had – Clare Pooley went into advertising where she found herself part of another drink-fuelled culture. She embraced it and was highly successful; she become managing partner of one of the biggest ad agencies in the world. But when Clare gave up work to concentrate on being a mum she continued to drink. She used alcohol – at least a bottle of wine a day – to escape boredom and tiredness. Other parents of young children all seemed to be doing the same thing, but she was drinking alone. She became overweight, depressed and worried about the effect it was having.

In March 2015 Clare quit drinking and – in an effort to find support without revealing her identity – she started a blog called Mummy was a Secret Drinker under the pseudonym ‘Sober Mummy’. The blog found an almost instant worldwide following; thousands of women who, like Clare, knew alcohol was damaging their lives. Within a year the blog hit over a million page views. The group’s members formed a huge but close support network for one another. When Clare was diagnosed with breast cancer members rallied around her. The Sober Diaries is the personal and frank story of Clare’s first year without alcohol and includes research, advice and wisdom acquired during a year of successfully living sober. It is upbeat, funny and – above all – about trying to live life to the full.

Clare Pooley will be in conversation with Festival Vice-Chairman and writer Paul Bisson.

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