American author Therese Anne Fowler has written a novel about F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘mad’ wife Zelda, and it’s available to buy from the 11th of April 2013. Zelda Fitzgerald (1900 – 1948) was a fascinating woman – a talented painter and writer, the ultimate party girl who spent the majority of the 1930s and 40s institutionalised with a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Fowler believes Fitzgerald suffered with depression, rather than schizophrenia, which was used to describe a range of mental health problems at the time; the term schizophrenia as used in the UK and the US now has only existed since the late 1970s.
F. Scott Fitzgerald struggled for years to find the best way to support Zelda. In 1934 he wrote a series of letters to Dr Jonathan Slocum at Craig House clinic in New York, where Zelda received treatment. Some of these letters have been made available to us thanks to the New York Times.