A young man who was once non-verbal has defied all odds and published ‘The Long Mile’ – a children’s book which is also a semi-autobiographical account. The book’s protagonist, a little girl called Ella, is preparing to run her first mini-marathon. Her story draws many parallels from the author’s own experiences with running.
The 26-year-old Oliver Pendlington, a resident of Hove, England, was diagnosed at a very young age with severe autism. The doctors also told his parents that he might remain non-verbal his entire life. However, with one-on-one support at his mainstream nursery, Oliver began speaking by the time he turned four. After finishing his primary and secondary education, Oliver went on to pursue undergraduate and master’s degrees in film.
A keen runner himself, Oliver has a passion for the sport, and he enjoys exploring various running routes with his mates at the Hove Hornets Running Club. Speaking to The Argus about his book, Oliver said, “Even after doing certain routes so many times, I find them long and challenging, especially the ones with the big hills and really muddy routes after heavy rain.” He added that much like Ella in The Long Mile, he finds waiting to start a run – any run – to be nerve-wracking.
With the help of his mother and a family friend, Oliver self-published the first 50 copies of his children’s book. He hopes to write and publish more of his work in the future.