Vicar's book on autistic son shortlisted for Michael Ramsey Prize

The Reverend John Gillibrand

A Welsh vicar's book on his son's autism has been shortlisted for the Michael Ramsey Prize.

The winner of the £10,000 prized will be announced by the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Williams at the Hay Festival on Tuesday.

The Reverend John Gillibrand, vicar of Llangeler, near Llandysul, is one of six writers nominated for the Michael Ramsey Prize for Theological Writing.

In Disabled Church - Disabled Society, Gillibrand talks about his experiences raising teenage son Adam, who is non-verbal, as well as the challenge presented by autism and disability to theology.

He also comments on the lack of adequate public services for people with autism and their carers.

"The central idea of the book is that disability in general, and autism in particular, hold a challenge to much of the Western tradition of thought. In particular, there is a challenge to our thinking of the relationship between the sacred and the secular," he said.

Gillibrand is one of six writers shortlisted for the Michael Ramsey Prize for Theological Writing.

Mr Gillibrand explained his motivation for writing the book: "After our son, Adam, who is on the autistic spectrum, went into full-time care, I found time to reflect on the experience of caring for him.

"I found many texts – theological and other – extremely helpful, but I could not find exactly what I was looking for. I felt the need to write what I was not finding elsewhere. I am still seeking to find the words to do justice to the experience.

"I'm delighted to be nominated for the Michael Ramsey Prize because the personal honour of the nomination will make a contribution to autism awareness, at the Hay Festival, and way beyond. I never imagined that such a thing would happen when I was going through some of the experiences described in the book."

Disabled Church –Disabled Society by Revd John Gillibrand is published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers (978-1843109686), £22.50

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