What Doesn't Kill You

By Elitsa Dermendzhiyska

15 master storytellers and Rory Bremner on the struggles that shaped them

The Stories

· A young man stands on the train tracks plotting a leap to end his life. What’s the logic of self-annihilation and what brings us back from the edge?

· An acclaimed memoirist finds that sometimes the only way you’ve got to cope with a broken reality is to go mad

· An athlete-turned-cognitive-psychologist examines how a fixation with proving yourself can lead to a personal loss you can neither expect, nor repair

· To process the trauma of his best friend’s suicide, a standup comedian cracks “sick jokes from the heart”, turning tragedy into craft

· A gifted writer of short stories discovers that her crippling anxiety may actually mask a deep-seated fear of success

· A crime novelist traces her creative impulse to a childhood accident that made her realise that she can both destroy and be destroyed by those whom she most loves

· One man spends 10 years preparing for the world’s toughest endurance challenge — and accomplishes it. But what happens when you live in the future and that future arrives and it’s not enough?

· A teenage girl tries to disappear by starving herself. What’s this force that compels so many women to stay small?

· A high-flying TV veteran ends up broke, drunk and rough sleeping on the English coast. What makes alcohol so hard to resist even as it ruins you?

· A child notices that certain aspects of her reality don't add up. Could it be that she's the only person who truly exists?

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