Hello there. I’m Anna. I’m an English teacher and one to one tutor, a mother of three young boys, a campaigner for better mental health provision and for lots of other things, too. And I write. I’ve done a spread of freelance journalism pieces, some extensive blogs, published a kitchen diary and a collection of short stories.
My first novel, Killing Hapless Ally, is out in March 2016. It’s a black comedy, with an unusual bit of murder, accompanied by Dolly Parton, Dante, Albert Camus and Frida (the brunette one) from Abba, to name but a few. And the story – I’ll hint only that it’s an allegory – is bound up with very real intent: that mental illness can start young, but that it can be survived and a triumph can be effected. Hey: I am living proof. And I am not afraid, any more, of being exposed as such a person. If my book makes just one person feel better or stops another from regarding mental illness as something that is shameful, then I am a happy girl.
This is an interesting time for me: I’m getting number three off to primary school and number two to secondary, I have many students on board (Monday was As you Like it to Of Mice and Men – which I loathe, by the way – to On Chesil Beach to a workshop on understanding and producing non fiction texts for year eleven students…) I’ve just seen the publication of my first novel, yet I am also thinking ahead; I’m increasing my profile as a writer and hope it looks like I’m taking it all very seriously. I am! Later this year my poetry will be published in The Emma Press Anthology of the Sea, I have been featured in ‘At Home’ magazine and just written about the value of poetry in today’s society for Writers and Artists and also contributed to AXA PPP online on anxiety and made a short film for their youtube channel and for the new health website, http://www.healthizmo.com. I’ve been blogging at http://www.selfishmother.com and have a number of articles to be published over the next few months. I will link them to this blog.
I have wanted to do this since forever; I just didn’t until the NHS – and later Cornerstones Literacy Consultancy and the writer Alison Taft, for whose support I shall be forever grateful – got their hands on me. I hope you get a copy Of Killing Hapless Ally and and I hope you enjoy it (admittedly it is a bit harrowing, I am told) and I hope that we can talk about it. A Goodreads reviewer just wrote this:
“I think this is the most important book I have ever read.”
I’m also working on a second book, a title based on elements of Great Expectations, which is my favourite book. It’s called A Life of Almost. Oh – and I thought, since Faber and Faber still accept poetry submissions, I would slowly, carefully prepare some poems and see how that goes…..