I couldn't believe my luck when I heard Garth Nix was coming to Norwich. His book Sabriel means a lot to me. It was the first book I read after being too ill to read for four years with severe ME.
It was a horrific time, unable to avoid my illness and escape into a book, I was ill and miserable. I had to imagine my own stories in my head; but I missed reading so much.
Despite not being able to read I still bought books, what can I say I just love them so much, the feel, the smell. I was keeping them for when I could read again.
When I bought Sabriel I knew very little about it; but the cover was beautiful, white and gold, I couldn't resist opening it. I read the very first sentence, my brain struggling to take in the words, to understand the sentence. It did and it was fantastic. I was hooked.
I was too ill to read more than a sentence a day at first and it took me nearly two years to read it; but I loved it so much.
Sabriel brought me back to books and the joy of reading and for that I will be forever grateful to Garth. It was an honour to be able to tell him that tonight.
Claire Wade is the winner of the Good Housekeeping Novel Competition and author of The Choice. She was bed bound for six years with severe ME, trapped in a body that wouldn't do what she wanted. She now writes about women who want to break free from the constraints of their lives, a subject she's deeply familiar with.