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KATE HITEHEAD

Many writers have said they were saved by writing - and in the case of New Zealand author Janet Frame, this is no exaggeration. Labelled a schizophrenic, she spent eight years in and out of psychiatric hospitals where she received 200 electroshock treatments. She was scheduled to have a lobotomy - but just days before the procedure, her debut publication of short stories was awarded a national literary prize. The operation was cancelled.

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