Review by Hilary Webb

It is easy to get swept up in the circumstances of Tigerish Waters’ publication, when perhaps the emphasis should be on the phenomenal talent that lies in the sentences and verses of Sophie’s writing. Anyone who has ever lived and wondered why will find something in this book that makes them say “I thought it was just me.”

Thanks to Hilary Webb for this thoughtful, sensitive review:

Press Release

Press Release 

Date: Thursday 9th November

 Place: Glasgow

Book launch – Tigerish Waters: Selected Writings of Sophie Reilly, in partnership with SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health)

Sophie Reilly aged 21 tragically took her life last year.  Her struggle to make sense of her illness was left in a series of writings, in prose, drama and poetry, which will be available as a short volume – entitled Tigerish Waters – from Thursday 9th November 2017, with a book launch in Glasgow.  All proceeds will be donated to the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH).

Her brother Samuel Reilly – a first class honours graduate of Oxford University who is keen to share Sophie’s work with a wider audience – has edited the volume, in order both to help other families coping with a family member with a mental illness, and to gain recognition of Sophie’s emerging literary talent.


This writing is riddled with honesty, with a delight in what most people take for granted and a continual attempt to communicate the difficulties of survival. That she succeeds and the measure of her success simply magnifies the loss. – Carl MacDougall, writer, President of Scottish PEN.


‘Sophie Reilly was already at twenty-one an extraordinarily assured writer, her eye sharp and unflinching, her ear for Scottish demotic unerring. In a flash of genius, the work she has left us becomes greeting and farewell in one, her personal tragedy now Scotland’s too to share.’ – Andrew McNeillie, poet (Winter Moorings, Carcanet, 2014), formerly Literature Editor at Oxford University Press, founder of Archipelago magazine and Clutag Press.


‘Sophie’s voice rings out in these pages through her characters, achingly true vignettes of broken and lost souls searching for some kind of way out. Truly remarkable pieces of writing. – Frank Turner, singer/songwriter, winner of Kerrang! No Half Measures Award (2010) and two Association of Independent Musicians Awards (2011).


‘This collection is not only the moving record of a young woman’s struggle with mental illness, but evidence of a lucid, resourceful, and often witty literary imagination taking shape.’– Patrick Hayes, Tutorial Fellow in English Literature, St John’s College, University of Oxford.


Tigerish Waters is both a celebration of her creative energies, and a record of their destructive bent. We hope it reveals Sophie as she was, and in so doing, encourages her readers to reflect on the mental illnesses she suffered, and which continue to afflict so many young people today. This poignant, strangely uplifting document of her life and thought, is encapsulated in her rallying cry: “We are people, not diagnoses”.’

– Samuel Reilly, Editor, and Sophie’s brother


“Sophie’s writing details a brave and honest account of her struggle with mental ill health. Her reflections on all of us as people and not diagnoses are beautifully crafted.  Knowing how important it can be to open up and talk we hope people who read these works will be encouraged to start their conversation.Thank you to Sophie’s family, who are raising money for SAMH through the sale of Tigerish Waters. This generosity will help us to raise awareness and most importantly be there for people when they need us.”   – Jo Anderson, Director of External Affairs at SAMH.




Note to Editors: Extracts and pictures of Sophie available.

Samuel Reilly available for interview

Tigerish Waters: Selected Writings of Sophie Reilly available from 9th November on Amazon and from at £6.99

 Twitter: @tigerishwaters

Facebook: Tigerish Waters


About SAMH

 SAMH has represented the voice of people affected by mental health issues in Scotland for more than 90 years. Around since 1923, SAMH currently operates in 60 communities across Scotland providing mental health social care support, homelessness, addictions and employment services, among others.These services together with national programme work in See Me, respectme, suicide prevention, sport and physical activity; inform SAMH’s policy and campaign work to influence positive social change.’

Launch information

Tigerish Waters will be released on 9th November, with a launch in Glasgow. This is RSVP only due to limited capacity, though we’re delighted to hear from anyone interested in attending and we will try and accommodate as many as possible; contact for more info.

On November 29th, we will have a London launch party at Burley Fisher Books, 400 Kingsland Rd, London, E8 4AA, 7-9pm. More info available here: