Trust the Neurodiverse Process with Ilona Bannister E30

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Written by #WWR

July 4, 2022
Ilona Bannister is an American immigrant, qualified US attorney, and UK solicitor turned author. Ilona grew up on Staten Island and lived in New York City until she married her British partner and moved to London. She practised immigration law in the UK before taking a career break to raise her two young sons and unexpectedly found herself writing fiction. When I Ran Away is her first novel, and Little Prisons is her second.  
Ilona’s first book, When I Ran Away, tackled love, mental health and motherhood against the backdrop of 9/11. Her latest novel, Little Prisons, is a book about immigration that addresses domestic workers, coercive control, mental health and loneliness. Nevertheless, there are laugh-out-loud moments in both.
As a so-called “neurotypical” individual, Ilona has reflected on the influence that her neurodiverse family has had on her, unlocking her creativity in ways she never thought possible.
Her books reflect her life and are heavily influenced by the lives of those around her.  Topics discussed during this episode: 

  • Writing a book through a pandemic.
  • The unexpected benefits of living with a neurodiverse family.   
  • The UK’s current immigration process and what we can do to support the lives of struggling refugees.  
  • The recent overturning of the Roe v Wade decision by the US Supreme Court and what it means for women in the States and across the world. 

Sareta and Chioma love Ilona’s heart and her compassion. Ilona’s advice to those wanting to rebrand themselves is that patience is key and nothing is a failure, because we are all informed by our experiences and those experiences, even if we don’t realise it at the time, help to take us to the next level. 

Iloma Bannister - When I Ran Away, Little Prisons
“It’s like being in a room with Jack Black and Robin Williams and Jim Carrey doing their standup all at once. It’s chaotic, frenetic and hilarious. It’s life with three people who think outside the box, all the time because very often they have forgotten the box or lost the box or just found another box much more interesting. And it has made me – a neurotypical, type-A rule-follower, squarely-in-the-box operator, former spelling bee champion and perpetual list-maker – into a much more fluid person and creative thinker, willing to let go of my rigid routines. My family have shown me the beauty and freedom of thinking differently. My older son has been diagnosed with dyslexia and some attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) behaviours that make focusing a challenge. My younger son has recently been referred for ADHD assessment and has had a diagnostic Qb test pointing toward its likelihood. There will be an evaluation and occupational therapy when regular schooling resumes. But it is clear he has difficulty focusing, and when we review the checklist of symptoms, they all feel very familiar. ADHD and dyslexia often coexist in a person’s learning profile, and they are genetic. When asked if anyone else in the family has them, I point at the guy in the top hat, who is also the smartest person I have met. As with many people our age, however, any issues my husband had as a child weren’t diagnosed. In the UK, it’s estimated that 2-5% of children have ADHD. The prevalence among adults is 3-4%, but the majority of cases are undiagnosed.” – Ilona Bannister  

Ilona Recommends

Mrs Death Misses Death: Salena Godden “Mrs Death tells her intoxicating story in this life-affirming fire-starter of a novel Mrs Death has had enough. She is exhausted from spending eternity doing her job and now she seeks someone to unburden her conscience. Wolf Willeford, a troubled young writer, is well acquainted with death, but until now hadn’t met Death in person – a black, working-class woman who shape-shifts and does her work unseen. Enthralled by her stories, Wolf becomes Mrs Death’s scribe and begins to write her memoirs. Using their desk as a vessel and conduit, Wolf travels across time and place with Mrs Death to witness deaths of past and present and discuss what the future holds for humanity. As the two reflect on the losses they have experienced – or, in the case of Mrs Death, facilitated – their friendship grows into a surprising affirmation of hope, resilience and love. All the while, despite her world-weariness, Death must continue to hold humans’ fates in her hands, appearing in our lives when we least expect her…” AmazonAmazon Amazon  

Where to find Ilona Bannister, Author of When I Ran Away and Little Prisons.

Web: Instagram: @ilona.bannister Twitter: @ilonabannister    

Written by #WWR

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