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Rikke Schmidt Kjærgaard and Bill Bryson

The Blink of an Eye: How I Died and Started Living

Hay Festival 2018, 

At the age of 38, a Danish scientist, wife and mother of three, is struck down by an acute bout of bacterial meningitis. She awakes from a coma in intensive care to find herself locked in, unable to show she is conscious except by blinking her eye. It becomes her only form of communication as in the months that follow, Kjærgaard's husband Peter sits beside her helping to interpret every eye movement. She struggles with every basic of life – painfully learning how to breathe, move, eat and speak again. Despite being given a five per cent chance of survival, she works intensively to recover and to achieve every small breakthrough. We are thrilled to welcome her to the Hay stage with Bill Bryson, who has called this “the most spellbinding and harrowing story I believe I have ever heard”.