Hay Festival Book of the Year 2018

For the second year in a row we asked you to tell us your favourite book of the year. After hundreds had their say, we're delighted to reveal our Hay Festival Book of the Year 2018 is... Inventing Ourselves by Sarah-Jayne Blakemore.

Inventing Ourselves by Sarah-Jayne Blakemore

Why does an easy child become a challenging teenager?
Why do teenagers struggle to get up in the morning?
Why do they often take excessive risks?

We often joke that teenagers don’t have brains. For some reason, it’s socially acceptable to mock people in this stage of their lives. The need for intense friendships, the excessive risk taking and the development of many mental illnesses – depression, addiction, schizophrenia – begin during these formative years, so what makes the adolescent brain different?

Winner of the 2018 Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize 2018, Inventing Ourselves sees neuroscientist Sarah-Jayne Blakemore draw upon her cutting-edge research in her London laboratory to explain what happens inside the adolescent brain, what her team’s experiments have revealed about our behaviour, and how we relate to each other and our environment as we go through this period of our lives. She shows that while adolescence is a period of vulnerability, it is also a time of enormous creativity – one that should be acknowledged, nurtured and celebrated.

A must read for parents, teachers and teenagers (past and present) everywhere.


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Sarah-Jayne Blakemore is Professor in Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London. She has published over 120 papers in scientific journals, and won multiple major awards for her research, including the British Psychological Society Spearman Medal 2006, the Turin Young Mind & Brain Prize 2013, the Royal Society Rosalind Franklin Award 2013 and the Klaus J. Jacobs Research Prize 2015. She was named in The Times Young Female Power List 2014 and was one of only four scientists on the Sunday Times 100 Makers of the 21st Century 2014. Inventing Ourselves is her first solo book.

Author Sarah-Jayne BlakemoreSarah-Jayne Blakemore © Paul Musso