Hello. How are you. I am sorry for what we are going through and send you love and strength. Also, a kiss, as in this embarrassing image, above.
Here is a brief newsletter from me.
I am due to have a new book out, Saving Lucia, in two weeks. I have waited for this – as you generally do – for two years but the publisher, Bluemoose, has now announced that, as of yesterday, the forthcoming seventy two hours will show them whether they are going to survive as a small press. You can imagine how that feels. I am sad for them and hope they make it through; maybe I won’t know until the last moment what will happen with my new book, so I am not entirely sure what to do now apart from wait. You may be feeling like this, too. Lots of people are. However, books are, and always have been, at the centre of my life so I suppose I see this book, Saving Lucia, as having a life wherever that might be. Hopefully where it was intended, but it looks like that is uncertain. I’ve been reflecting that the book didn’t exist and now it does and that, in itself, is an achievement and a source of joy. In itself thinking like this is also a business decision – because knowing that it has brought early readers joy makes me determined to see it succeed.
Coming up, whatever happens, I have a q&a about Saving Lucia with my dear friend, the author Lucie McKnight Hardy on the 30th of April, a blast of blogger reviews, articles I’ve written for 3A:M, Severine and and Isobel Costello’s Literary sofa; an interview with Minor Lits. I have spoken at the Stay at Home Festival about Saving Lucia, trauma, memory and the imagination and next week you will be able to see me at the Bookbound festival – this time (at least I think, because it’s going to be wonderfully spontaneous) focused broadly on mental health and mental ill health; last week I was delighted to read from and talk about Saving Lucia at 3A:M in lockdown. We must wait to see what happens with papers and journals, but what I can say is some of the reviewers from the broadsheets have messaged me to say how much they love the book and, well, that’s pretty much a dream come true; I was delighted it was featured as one to watch in Stylist magazine, The Bookseller and The Irish Times.
What else. Let’s see…I hope to speak at universities, libraries and bookshops after this period of confinement – dependent on what happens with the press, I would imagine – but maybe not. There is always plenty to say! We – lovely indie publicist Jordan and I – also start our work in the not too distant future on my first short story collection, Famished, which is out in September, and I have creative non-fiction and weird fiction out this autumn with Dodo Ink and Unsung Stories. For September, I aim to finish a rewrite of the first novel I am writing for my literary agency, Mackenzie Wolf, in New York City – and I am thinking a lot of them in this present awful situation. This year, I have also given a bursary for creative writing at Birkbeck for their creative writing programme, so that someone who might be struggling can benefit from some financial aid; also, between May and September, I will be mentoring someone who suffers from a chronic health condition (applications can come in until the end of this week) in their short or long fiction. Finally, I have handed in two other books, another novel and another short story collection, thus meeting my contracts! And I loved doing them.
Whatever you are doing, keep being creative in whichever way you can imagine in the present circumstances,
Anna. I am blowing you a kiss in the featured image.
Publicist: Jordan Taylor Jones https://twitter.com/JordTaylorJones
Agency http://www.mwlit.com/ Kate Johnson (Rachel Crawford is covering is looking after me until September because the divine Kate is on maternity leave).