When Harriet McKnight’s grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s she told her family, ‘I’ll always be here for you, except sometimes when I’m not’

Several years ago my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. My mother called to tell me. I don’t think I really understood what it meant at the time. She’s just more forgetful?

Dementia is everywhere at the moment – in films like Still Alice, in books like Goodbye, Vitamin or The Night Guest, even an old episode of Criminal Minds I happened to flick on the other night. We are drawn to investigating it in the arts, I think, because it’s the absolute unknowable. What is it like to feel your brain give out beneath you? Where’s the final edge between the present and the past?

Related: What not to say to people living with dementia | Yvonne Manson

Related: ‘Speculative fiction is a powerful political tool’: from War of the Worlds to Terra Nullius

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