Why I wrote Being Miss Nobody

The idea for Being Miss Nobody came to me while I was daydreaming. I pictured a girl, completely silent, being ignored by everyone around her, but with all these thoughts inside her head. She was unable to speak any of them. That girl was Rosalind Banks. Being Miss Nobody is her story.

Rosalind has selective mutism (SM) - a severe anxiety disorder which makes it impossible to speak in certain situations. For Rosalind, that's everywhere apart from home.

Being Miss Nobody explores the difficulties of living with SM: how it can be an enormous barrier to making friends, asking for help, showing people how bright, funny, wonderful and unique you are. How it can leave you vulnerable to bullying. And how isolating and frustrating it can be.

Rosalind's words are stuck in the prison of her own head and, as desperate as she is to get them out, they remain trapped.

At her new secondary school, she becomes the victim of bullying - she's seen as the weird girl who can't speak. And she becomes more desperate than ever to speak up. So, with the help of her super-brainy but super-poorly little brother Seb, she starts an anonymous blog called Miss Nobody. With her blog, Rosalind has finally found her voice.

As Miss Nobody gains followers, Rosalind grows in confidence, protected by her shield of anonymity. She starts naming and ridiculing the bullies who are making her life hell. But, it isn't long before things start to spiral out of control, and people start getting hurt. As people start being falsely accused of being Miss Nobody, Rosalind knows she has to speak up.

Only how can you do that when you can't actually speak?

I hope Being Miss Nobody reveals the enormous struggle young people with SM face. How impossible it can be to speak up, even when speaking up is your only option. I hope this book goes some way to improving understanding of SM, and anxiety in general.

I know how much of a barrier mental health conditions can be to happiness, and to achieving success in every aspect of your life. How inescapable it can be. But I also know there are incredible people out there who can help.

Being Miss Nobody is a novel about speaking up, told by a girl who can't. But it's also about the million-per-cent importance of friendship, how you can lose someone and keep them at the same time, how books and libraries can provide a necessary sanctuary and - most importantly of all - how incredibly brave and almighty a girl can be.

Tamsin Winter


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