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Stories for the dead of night

book, 1967

Great teller of strange stories, old and new, in one unforgettable collection. THE SHADOW by Ben Hecdt - MISS GENTILBELLE by Charles Beaumont - THE CHASER by John Collier - TABOO by Geoffrey Household - REVENGE by Samuel Blas - THE PIT by Gwyn Jones - MAN FROM THE SOUTH by Roald Dahl - SREDIN VASHTAR by Saki (H. H. Munro) - THE DEMON LOVER by Elizabeth Bowen - SILVER CIRCUS by A.E. Coppard - PALACE OF SLEEP by Anna Kavan - THE WOMAN AT SEVEN BROTHERS by Wilbur Daniel Steele - A JOURNEY by Edith Wharton - THE LOTTERY - Shirley Jackson - TWO BOTTLES OF RELISH by Lord Dunsany - THE PROOF by John Moore - TURN OF THE TIDE by C. S. Forester - THE TELL-TALE HEART by Edgar Allen Poe - THE MIDDLE TOE OF THE RIGHT FOOT by Ambrose Bierce - THE ILLUSTRATED MAN by Ray Bradbury

Anna Kavan's eternal journey....

blogPost, 19/11/2009

One of the most brilliant passages in Jennifer Sturm’s ‘Anna Kavan’s New Zealand’ concerns a visit to Hawke’s Bay. It is war time and the Kavanesque narrator - a woman not unidentitical to the author Kavan - is making her way out of New Zealand - one of the few places, ironically, she felt at peace. But she’s bursting to get away. Kavan was also a heroin addict, so probably New Zealand in 1942 wasn’t much chop.

A stranger on Earth: the life and work of Anna Kavan

book, 2006


Announcement: Anna Kavan at the Zarrow Art Center | From McFarlin Tower

webpage, 01/11/2013

The University of Tulsa’s Department of Special Collections and University Archives is proud to announce the opening of an exhibit featuring the works of Anna Kavan. The exhibit will be shown in the Sherman Smith Family Gallery at the Zarrow Art Center located at 124 East Brady Street. The show opens tomorrow Friday November 1st during the First Friday Art Crawl in the Brady Arts District from 6-9.

Sleep Asylum

audioRecording, 1986

Before powerhouse vocalist Thalia Zedek added her verve to New York's no wave band Live Skull or fronted her own blues-tinged Come during the 1990s, she was fulfilling, in part, the legacy Patti Smith left behind when she dropped from sight to raise her family at the end of the 1970s. Fronting the little-known and even less-remembered Boston band Uzi during the first half of the 1980s, Zedek spit her voice across a dark, underground rock that barely tempered the ferocity of her delivery. The group's only album, Sleep Asylum, was racked in 1986 and displayed their skill at creating a wall of sound that didn't depend on screamed vocals to front the din. It was a godsend for the Massachusetts no wavers, who'd only previously been able to sample the band via the college circuit. A delicious blend of gritty guitar, tape loops, and heavy drumbeats, the music was another slice of the pie served à la Sonic Youth and to a lesser extent, Big Black. Packed with sophisticated melody that barely traps the menace, Sleep Asylum builds across the opening "Criminal Child" to the sweet fragility of "Gabrielle" before launching into the balls-out crash-bang nervous breakdown of "Ha-Ha-Ha," which remains one of the band's finest. Nearly, but not quite outdoing that triumph, though, is the hypnotic "Collections," which roils around guitar and drums and some otherworldly chant before Zedek's vocals weigh in to pose the question, "Would you let me inside your house/Would you like to push me inside out?/Someone should dare." With that delicious intent and her bludgeoned come-on cutting through the music, one can only wonder if anyone would have. Probably not. This album, an early Homestead release, remains devilishly hard to find, but is well worth the price. Sleep Asylum is one of the American underground's long-forgotten secrets, a bit of archeology that, in its own way, helped set the scene for the drone of music's future.

Speculative fiction - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



Kafka's sister

magazineArticle, 31/07/2010

Fuelled by heroin and self-exploration, Anna Kavan's underground Kafka-esque novels penetrated the human psyche in a manner that distrubed even JG Ballard.

Portrait of the Artist as the Books He’s Loved

blogPost, 11/10/2011

My first encounter with Anna Kavan came via an image found trawling through a friend’s flicker page. There is a lovely group of really wonderful women I have met online via my obsession with the 60s & 70s films of the fantastique, and “Oola” is one acquaintance I was particularly bewitched by. She seemed to have impeccable taste and a wonderfully exciting life (from what I could see of it online), so the combination of my experience with the owner of the book and the cover of the book itself, I immediately requested the book from inter-library-loan (at the time, Kavan’s Julia and the Bazooka was out of print).

Fantastic tales


Indhold: The Green Lady : English folktale. The witches' excursion : Irish legend. Edgar Allan Poe: The black cat. E.E. Kellett: The Lady Automaton. W.W. Jacobs: The monkey's paw. Charlotte Perkins Gilman: When I was a witch. Saki: Sredne Vashtar. Graham Greene: Proof positive. Manly Wade Wellman: The theater upstairs. Leonora Carrington: White rabbits. Richard Matheson: Blood son. Anna Kavan: A visit. Patricia Highsmith: The empty birdhouse. Vonda N. McIntyre: Spectra. Russell Bates: Rite of encounter. Angela Carter: Penetrating to the heart of the forest

Anna Kavan - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Anna Kavan (born Helen Emily Woods; 10 April 1901 – 5 December 1968) was a British novelist, short story writer and painter. Originally publishing under her first married name, Helen Ferguson, she adopted the name Anna Kavan in 1939, not only as a nom de plume but as her legal identity.

Bibliography: the seed

blogPost, 13/05/2013

This is the first mention of Anna Kavan in my writing. During a panel, after a discussion turned to authors and addictions, a student approached the microphone and asked “What about Anna Kavan? She wrote Julia and the Bazooka, which is about her heroin addiction.”

Anna Kavan Society


Founded in 2009, the Anna Kavan Society aims to encourage wider readership and increase academic scholarship of Kavan’s work. These pages provide accurate information about Kavan’s life and writing and news of Kavan-related events and publications. The society hopes to create a forum for information exchange and research collaboration, eventually producing a journal of academic work and hosting a Kavan conference.

Love & Loss: Stories of the Heart

book, 1993

The works of Jane Bowles, Edith Wharton, Rebecca West, and other distinctive voices of the 20th century are gathered here for the first time in a collection of 18 variously lyrical, piquant and bold stories which explore women's lives and loves, embracing moments daring and commonplace, public and private.

Anna Kavan: Letter to her publisher

blogPost, 10/04/2011

Anna Kavan: Letter to her publisher

Anna Kavan and libraries

blogPost, 14/06/2009

I love the way with libraries you go in there, drift around and often seem to arrive, as if with a sense of predestination, before a book. This book, once you pick it up - there’s something almost magnetic happening here - now opens at a particular page. It is all random - or else it is the magic which accrues to the long time searcher and reader. This happened to me yesterday. I was browsing in the Auckland Public Library heritage room. I saw a book called Anna Kavan’s New Zealand. I picked it up, the book fell open and immediately I spied the word Napier.

Anna Kavan aka Helen Ferguson


Life & Books

The case of Anna Kavan: a biography

book, 1992


Locational Feminism: Gender, Cultural Geographies, and Geopolitical Literacy


A locational feminism is one that acknowledges the historically and geographically specific forms in which feminism emerges, takes root, changes, travels, translates, and transplants in different spacio/temporal contexts.

Bottle blonde

magazineArticle, 04/07/2009

When the unconventional Anna Kavan came to 1940s New Zealand, she cast a cool eye on its inhabitants.

Compose Yourself!

blogPost, 28/12/2014

After yet another review in the New York Times Book Review about some book about Scott Fitzgerald, I felt it was time to write something about Kate Zambreno’s book Heroines. I taught some of it this semester past and made at least a couple of Zambreno converts. Zambreno’s Heroines ...

A Writer's Ruminations

blogPost, 24/02/2012

Walker Evans - Anna Kavan, 1941

Anna Kavan

blogPost, 31/05/2007

I can only apologize for being so distracted by bath plugs the last time I mentioned Anna Kavan.It can't have been helpful so now I plan to dedicate myself to the cause of Anna and ensure you all know about her without any deviation,hesitation or repetition whatsoever

Asylum Piece - Anna Kavan

blogPost, 18/04/2011

Anna Kavan – a character’s name from one of her earlier works, adopted by the author who went on to produce some astonishing work that is all too sadly neglected these days, despite the unflagging championship by her publisher. This was the first of her ‘new’ work, a series of interlinked vignettes that explore her recent experiences of breakdown and confinement in an asylum.

Silverglass | Performances | Taliesin

webpage, 11/09/2013

A master-craftsman of Welsh fiction, Rhys Davies combined pin-point observation of Valleys life with a twinkling sense of comedy. His long-term friend Anna Kavan wrote dark and troubled novels described by J.G. Ballard as “somewhere between poetry and madness”. Each lived a life of self-invention, in which secrets, sexuality and deep questions of personal identity lurked constantly in the shadows. D.J. Britton’s high-energy play is set in the late 1960s when Davies’ late literary recognition and Kavan’s final tragedy came together like a thunderclap.

Review: Ice, Anna Kavan

blogPost, 28/06/2011

When I picked up this book, all I knew about it was that it was apocalyptic. I certainly didn’t realise that the apocalyptic scenario in fact plays out a sinister psychological dreamscape, where the boundaries between interior and exterior, real and imagined, hallucination and daydream, sadistic wish-fulfillment and physical injury, are utterly erased. That was a shock. But whilst Kavan’s Ice turned out to be far more disconcerting than I’d anticipated, it certainly wasn’t disappointing.

Anna Kavan


The houses of ice and sleep, bright gree, fields, hoofist and dancing brain-fever birds

2666 and what I learned from Anna Kavan

blogPost, 28/05/2009

Right now I’m reading Ice by Anna Kavan. Scant 150 pages of flat characterization and a fantastic, visceral, amorphous ice world that includes a dragon.

Murmurations, uncanny stories about birds

book, 2011

Freud observed that birds ‘don’t seem to be submitted to the same laws of gravity as us’, although without gravity they would die, as they need it to swallow. Birds are all around us; they could not be more familiar. And yet at the same time they are alien, unheimlich – uncanny. Award-winning editor Nicholas Royle brings together previously published stories by Daphne du Maurier, Anna Kavan, Russell Hoban and others with brand-new tales by contemporary writers including Bill Broady, Adam Marek, Regi Claire and many more.

A Charmed Circle, Anna Kavan

blogPost, 01/10/2007

Marooned in a country house in an ugly manufacturing town is an old vicarage of which expensive improvements have been undertaken.

Introducing Anna Kavan

magazineArticle, 24/02/2011

There’s an indispensable book called About Writing by Samuel R. Delany. In the first essay he cobbles together an eclectic list of authors that, ideally, the aspiring writer should read. Because Delany has read everything, you can bet his tastes are wide and varied. And it’s thanks to that book that I discovered Anna Kavan.

Rhys Davies and Anna Kavan

blogPost, 16/01/2008

The relationship between Welsh novelist Rhys Davies and cult author Anna Kavan is a fascinating one. I guess what drew them together must have been their outsider status - Davies the closeted homosexual and Kavan the secret heroin addict.


blogPost, 27/03/2012

I first heard of Anna Kavan’s Ice (1967, but republished in 2006 by Peter Owen) when John Self reviewed it on his blog almost exactly a year ago, and it went right onto my list of books to check out in the future.

Julia and the Bazooka

blogPost, 17/09/2009

Anna Kavan is the author of Ice, a surreal sci-fi masterpiece about a woman and two barely distinguishable sadistic men, one who has enslaved her, and one who wishes to. The world is slowly turning to ice. She has the incredibly smooth and detached voice of mid-century English fiction, flawlessly written and absolutely clear, like Somerset Maugham or Graham Greene. The subject is always herself. This is what links her early realist work to her later surreal stuff. Anna Kavan (it is a nom de plume, taken from the protagonist of an early novel) was a lifelong heroin addict. She was suicidal. She called her syringe her bazooka. Hence the title of her last collection of short stories, Julia and the Bazooka.

Anna Kavan papers


This artificial collection has been compiled from a number of acquisitions and included handwritten and typed manuscripts of novels, novellas and short stories. Also diaries, notebooks, photographs, personal memorabilia and correspondence with theater critic Raymond B. Marriott, George Bullock, Rhys Davies and letters, notes and drawings from K. T. Bluth to Kavan. Kavan's artwork, predominantly water color but including oil, pen and ink, and goache.

What's the Story: Reading Anna Kavan's Ice


Anna Kavan's Ice is a novel of relentless, evanescent beauty that depicts a world in which two explicitly linked forms of violence dominate and inexorably and insanely destroy it. First published in 1967, on the eve of the second wave of feminism, Ice has never been regarded as a significant work of proto-feminist literature, although scholars occasionally include it on lists of sf by women written before the major works of feminist sf burst onto the scene in the 1970s.


book, 2012

If you thought you knew a lot about the ‘wives’ of modernism and the various forms of silencing they suffered, Kate Zambreno’s Heroines will teach you more; if you didn’t know much, your mouth will fall open in enraged amazement.

Sunday Confessions

blogPost, 03/06/2007

I now shamelessly beg from Peter Owen.Honestly what has happened to me? They took instant pity and came up with a lighteningly quick copy of A Stranger on Earth, The Life and Work of Anna Kavan by Jeremy Reed to help fuel my Anna Kavan-fest.

Anna Kavan : Ice

blogPost, 31/03/2011

Anna Kavan is one of those writers I’ve been meaning to read for years, assured that hers was exactly the sort of low-tog-rating fiction I claim to seek. At the same time her most famous novel, Ice, seemed like the sort of book which didn’t need to be read at all: one of those where the blurb and chat around it seemed to say all that needed to be said. It’s easy to summarise but hard to write about: at least that’s my excuse.

The Parson - Anna Kavan

blogPost, 05/11/2007

I picked up another of Anna Kavan's remarkable novels, The Parson, one of the last of her books to be published and this one post humously after the discovery of the manuscript in amongst Anna Kavan's papers at the McFarlin Library at the University of Tulsa.

The Mysterious Anna Kavan

blogPost, 08/01/2006

’ve been reading Anna Kavan’s Asylum Piece. It’s a stunning collection, each story stranger and more intense than the last.

About Writing

book, 2006

Creative Writing / Science Fiction / Writing Craft

In Her Blood by Annie Hauxwell

book, 26/04/2012

Apparently, the character of Berlin was inspired by Anna Kavan who wrote for many years while addicted to heroin- which makes for an interesting premise for the story in itself.

Book reviews Anna Kavan



Rhys Davies Papers


Rhys Davies (1901-1978), novelist and short story writer. His archives comprises literary and personal papers, 1901-1979 : manuscript drafts and typescript copies, mainly of short stories and plays, together with drafts and a manuscript text of his last novel Ram with red horns (Bridgend, 1996), set in south Wales. Also included are letters to and from Rhys Davies, mostly 1960s and 1970s, and papers relating to his friend, the novelist 'Anna Kavan' (Helen Ferguson, 1901-1968), including a short draft of a work of fiction in her hand.

Anna Kavan Symposium

webpage, 11/09/2014

A one-day symposium at the Institute of English Studies in association with Liverpool John Moores University Research Centre for Literature and Cultural History and Peter Owen Publishers.

I love this photo of AK, The sleepwalker in the city...

blogPost, 16/06/2009

Anna Kavan returned to war time Britain and spent the rest of her troubled life there. She continued to publish books. I remember seeing a book by her in the 1970s and thinking she was Eastern European. She's that strain of English writing which is Eurocentric, 'surrealiste' is the term she used. I have now finished the book and it's lodged in my mind as something rare and wonderful - the sound of a voice.

2015: The Year of Reading Women - K's: Anna Kavan (

forumPost, 01/01/2015


Anna Kavan "I am Lazarus" - Spoiler!

blogPost, 06/01/2011

The short story "The Brother" is another stunner. The narrator talks of being a sickly child, well taken care of by his mother while his brother is hardy and beautiful. He tells us that he has great regret about his treatment of his brother. He was always quarrelsome and hid behind his illnesses to be unkind to his brother and his friends. The brother was kind and always tried to bring a smile to the narrators face, though he was never rewarded with one.

Anna Kavan


‘I was about to become the world’s best kept secret; one that would never be told. What a thrilling enigma for posterity I should be.’ Thus does one of Anna Kavan’s characters describe herself in an unpublished short story, and we know that, as in much of Kavan’s writing, she was describing herself. An enigma the author remains, but her talent was none the less remarkable, and her works have been compared to that of Doris Lessing, Virginia Woolf and Franz Kafka and acclaimed by writers from Anaïs Nin to J.B. Ballard.

Sunday Caught My Interest

blogPost, 03/04/2011

The latter happened when I read John Self’s review of Anna Kravan’s Ice. I was intrigued by Anna’s story (physiological issues, heroin addiction, renaming herself after one of her own character’s, etc.) but the book itself didn’t seem like my thing. And then I clicked on a book John mentions in the review and found his review of Christopher Priest’s The Affirmation.

The Locus Index to Science Fiction: 1984-1998


My Madness: The Selected Writings of Anna Kavan. Literary sf collection, edited and with an introduction by Brian W. Aldiss.

Anna Kavan

webpage, 21/07/2014

Kavan's bibliography / text archeology

Anna Kavan by Jennifer Sturm

radioBroadcast, Saturday 4 July 2009

Auckland writer and researcher on two years in the life of experimental writer and artist Anna Kavan, in 1940s New Zealand.


webpage, 01/04/2012

This body of work by Heather and Ivan Morison draws on the life and works of 20th century British novelist Anna Kavan (1901-1968). Kavan, born Helen Ferguson, produced a large body of elusive and strange work that operated somewhere between biography and science fiction, drawing on her own turbulent life. Anna is an allegorical piece of object theatre that tells a brutal tale of love and loss set against the approaching threat of ‘the ice’.

Rooms with Books: A Charmed Circle – by Anna Kavan

blogPost, 18/09/2007

I love finding new/old authors. So what do I mean by that? Well, authors that wrote many years ago, but who I’ve never heard off. Many of these have become favourites, such as Barbara Pym. Anna Kavan will be the same I have a feeling, though from what I understand some of her later books are a lot different then her first few.

Literary Luminaries: Gender and the Avant-Garde Novelist – Part I | The Weeklings

journalArticle, 08/09/2014

"WHY DON’T YOU have a beard?” This was a question that a London taxi driver once posited to me. I’d just told him I was a novelist, and he eyed me with great suspicion, questioned my lack of facial hair and then concluded, with authority, “A Proper Author ought to be old, and look jaded, and have a beard.” I pointed out that Jane Austen and George Eliot had managed to pen fine prose despite having hair on their cunts rather than their chins; he merely looked confused.

Ice-maiden stung by a spider: 'Change the Name'

newspaperArticle, 05/06/1993

ANNA KAVAN wrote quite a few novels, some under her own real name. She is better known in Europe, but if her reputation here is still small it is secure and growing. The nets of mystification she wove about herself have frayed a little, but her intention that her life should not be known frustrates biographers.

Sleep Has His House

blogPost, 01/05/2012

“How dark it is. The moon must have stolen away secretly. The stars have thrown their spears down and departed.”

Anna Kavan Paintings



Winter reads: Ice by Anna Kavan

newspaperArticle, 21/12/2011

A frozen post-nuclear dystopia is the setting for this raw, brutal tale. It may not cheer you up, but it will compel your attention

Anais Nin – Dominions

blogPost, 30/10/2015


Two Halves: Unica Zürn. Affinities, Women Artists & Hybrid Forms.

magazineArticle, 12/02/2013

It Is Almost That: A Collection of Image+Text Work by Women Artists & Writers includes twenty-six works that do not fit neatly in any category and thus, because they are unwieldy, uncontainable, and inimitable are often relegated to the margins, or known by one world but not another. One of my ambitions in editing this book (read the complete editor’s afterword here) was to make space for those artists and writers who have been under-recognized or slotted into a category that doesn’t allow for a full reading of their work.


blogPost, 14/01/2012

re: the apocalypse

Gender in speculative fiction - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



Anna Kavan's New Zealand

blogPost, 30/09/2009

Come along and hear Jennifer Sturm, author of Anna Kavan’s New Zealand, talk about Anna Kavan, an experimental writer and talented artist, who struggled with bouts of depression and insecurity, as well as heroin addiction and a stream of unconventional love affairs.

Outside the asylum of her mind

newspaperArticle, 25/06/2006

Since we often hear complaints about the puerile state of current publishing, it is as well to remind oneself that exceptional work has often had a hard time of it in Britain. Henry James struggled to sell his greatest novels. James Joyce was published in Paris. Ronald Firbank paid for his own publication. D H Lawrence was reviled. But because literature is about extending reality, not repeating it, there is some law of creativity which guarantees that the exceptional is what survives. So perhaps it is no wonder that the esoteric and beautiful writing of Anna Kavan refuses to go away - but it has been a near thing.

Black Treacle: a story of Anna Kavan.

book, 10/08/2008

When I read the work of visionary writer Anna Kavan, I was immediately entranced. I wrote Black Treacle as a tribute to her marvelous work.

Anna: A Love Story For Puppets | ...ment


Puppet show based upon the novel Ice and the life of the book’s author Anna Kavan. First performed at Eastside Projects, Birmingham on 9th September 2011. The voiceover artists were Dermot Keaney as thehe Warden, Victoria Lewis as the Girl, and Rain Peak Morison as the Child. The puppeteers were Owen Davies as the Girl and Ivan Morison as the Warden.

An Unpleasant Reminder by Anna Kavan

blogPost, 15/04/2014

An Unpleasant Reminder is a short story written in the first person narrative which explores the workings of a disturbed mind. The story begins with complaints about the weather and moves on to the precise details of the day. The narrator does not give away that she is a woman till one reaches the middle of the story and she likens herself to another woman.

The Detached Retina: Aspects of SF and Fantasy

book, 1995

We devotees of SF enjoy its diversity of opinion, the bustle of bright and dark, the clash of progress and entropy, the clamour of theories about the past, the future, the ever-present present, everything. In this fascinating collection of essays, one of the world's pre-eminent SF writers explores a wide range of SF and fantasy writers and writing.

Anna Kavan’s Beautiful Head

blogPost, 06/07/2011

Anna Kavan’s Beautiful Head

Cold print

blogPost, 21/10/2009

This time of year I usually re-read Ray Bradbury’s The October Country because . . . well, do I really need to explain why? But Jonathan Lethem is looking ahead to winter with a list of his favorite icy books.

Anna Kavan's New Zealand: a Pacific interlude in a turbulent life

book, 2009

New Zealanders live 'in temporary shacks, uneasily, as reluctant campers too far from home', wrote Anna Kavan in a London magazine in 1943. Her seemingly negative comments created a stir both in the UK and New Zealand and suggested Kavan felt nothing but antipathy for the country. However, in researching this prize-winning author of nineteen books, Dr Jennifer Sturm uncovered letters and unpublished short stories written during Kavan's sojourn in New Zealand that show a more complex, affectionate and significant response. Those stories are published here for the first time, along with a fascinating discussion of this experimental writer and talented artist, who struggled with bouts of depression and insecurity, as well as heroin addiction and a stream of unconventional love affairs. Kavan roamed the world trying to find a home, and although her stay in New Zealand was for less than two years, her stories reveal a country where she found temporary peace, a country she captures in a warm and astute gaze. This book provides an intriguing insight, not only into the life and writing of Anna Kavan but also New Zealand of the 1940s.

Books reviews Anna Kavan


Goodreads is the largest site for readers and book recommendations in the world. We have more than 14,000,000 members who have added more than 470,000,000 books to their shelves. A home for casual readers and bona-fide bookworms alike, Goodreads users recommend books, compare what they are reading, keep track of what they've read and would like to read, find their next favorite book, form book clubs and much more. Goodreads was launched in January 2007.

Anna Kavan


Anna Kavan was born Helen Emily Woods on April 10, 1901 in Cannes, France of English parents (Claude Charles Edward Woods and Helen Bright). She was raised and educated in Europe and California. While the family was in Southern California, the father committed suicide; Helen was thirteen.

Kavan’s place in NZ literary history (by Lawrence Jones)

blogPost, 31/05/2009

NNA KAVAN is probably known in New Zealand, if at all, primarily for her rather unflattering portrait of the country in “New Zealand: Answer to an Inquiry,” published in 1943 in Horizon. This book, the fruit of eight years of research by Jennifer Sturm, has attempted to change that situation, to bring about the recognition of “Kavan’s role in the literary history of New Zealand.”

Anna Kavan


It has been said that Anna Kavan wrote in a mirror. The body of work left by the now obscure British modernist represented a constant inquiry into her own identity, and the invention of a personal mythology—or demonology, as it would become later in her career.

The Case of Anna Kavan’ by David Callard

magazineArticle, 25/02/1993

During the war Anna Kavan worked for nearly two years at the offices of Horizon. ‘Understandably, Connolly was never comfortable with Kavan,’ Michael Sheldon wrote in Friends of Promise, his book about Connolly.

The Strange Case of AK

blogPost, 03/07/2007

The first blog entry I ever wrote had something to do with Anna Kavan; I think I was reading her book "Let Me Alone" at the time. I've just finished George Saunder's "In Persuasion Nation" -- funny, cynical, nasty, and ultimately touching -- and tonight, waiting anxiously for a thunderstorm that is taking its own sweet time arriving, I'm following it up with Kavan's "Mercury."


blogPost, 07/11/2011

Two Ravens Press are now taking orders for Murmurations – An Anthology of Uncanny Stories About Birds, edited by Nicholas Royle.

Feminist SFF & Utopia: A Brief History of Feminist SF/F and Women in SF/F



Anna Kavan – a unique modernist vision

blogPost, 2013

It’s not quite correct to say that Anna Kavan has been forgotten. Her books are kept in print out of sheer dedication by her publisher, Peter Owen. My colleague at the University of East Anglia, Karen Schaller, teaches her novel Ice on her course Fiction After Modernism. And a recent paean to this same novel appeared in the Guardian.

“My somewhat tortured love affair with modernism...

blogPost, 14/11/2012

“ “My somewhat tortured love affair with modernism began when I was working in a bookshop in London, reading these amazing women writers of that period who I had never heard of previously, obscure...

A Stranger on Earth by Jeremy Reed

newspaperArticle, 07/07/2006

On the cover is an old snap of Anna Kavan tinted to make her look like somebody she never could have been. Before colour photography, it was a profession: tinting photographs, flattering the sitter. If it was the novelist herself who agreed to this enhanced Anna, then the picture is probably a witness to another of her attempts to be just like everybody else, and that is painful.

Literary Heroines to Love: Anna Kavan

magazineArticle, 07/122008

This week is the fortieth anniversary of Anna Kavan’s death. Although these days she remains largely unmentioned by the mainstream media, without her the modern literary landscape that we know and love would be much more barren. Canonised female authors from Anais Nin to Virginia Woolf owe much of their experimental style and strength of voice to Anna Kavan.

Anna Kavan Edit-a-thon

encyclopediaArticle, 12/09/2014

If her sensationalized life has often overshadowed a proper critical attention to her work, Anna Kavan's writing is still widely published and translated, generating on-going interest, inspiring and fascinating new communities of researchers, readers or artists and highlighting more than ever this experimental and multi-faceted writer of the inner mind. Facilitating a meet-up of impassioned folks, this edit-a-thon is a chance to extend the knowledge shared during the symposium and expand Anna Kavan's wikipedia pages through collaborative writing.

Scholarly collaboration, with coffee

blogPost, 17/09/2014

Last Friday saw the Anna Kavan editathon, a morning of editing the Wikipedia page about her. This collaboration was the brainchild of Catherine Lenoble (User:Cathsign), a French writer whose first edit was a year ago at the Ada Lovelace Day event in Brussels. London is an expensive place to stay, so many of the symposium attendees left immediately afterwards, but remote participation in the editathon was made easier by an etherpad.

Sleep Does Not Have His House: Anna Kavan

blogPost, 20/01/2007

A very rare bout of insomnia seems like the perfect time to discuss dreams. Well, I did sleep for a few hours and woke up after a particularly vivid dream. Which I will not describe.

Peter Owen Publishers


An enigma the author remains, but her talent was none the less remarkable, and her works have been compared to that of Doris Lessing, Virginia Woolf and Franz Kafka and acclaimed by writers from Anaïs Nin to J.B. Ballard.

David Higham Associates | Literary, film and tv agents


Anna Kavan's agent.

Beyond The Lighthouse. English Women Novelists In The Twentieth Century


Are novels by women 'different' from those written by men? If so, how? Do women writers possess a sense of humour? And why have so many of their novels been over- or under-rated? These are some of the questions raised in this stimulating book, which considers the work of some sixty British and Commonwealth women novelists of the twentieth century. Margaret Crosland's enthusiasm for her subject will encourage readers, both women and men, to study the modern classics which they had always meant to read, or re-read those they read too long ago. The author considers some pioneers, such as May Sinclair, and experimenters of different types: Virginia Woolf, Dorothy Richardson, Anna Kavan, Ann Quin; humorists whose humour is often `black': Rose Macaulay, Muriel Spark, Barbara Pym, Beryl Bainbridge, Fay Weldon, Ivy Compton-Burnett;

The Novel of the Future

book, 1968

In The Novel of the Future, Anaïs Nin explores the act of creation—in literature, film, art, and dance—to arrive at a new synthesis for the young artist struggling against the sterility, formlessness, and spiritual bankruptcy afflicting much of modern fiction.

ANNA KAVAN at kipple

blogPost, 04/09/2015

faux stamps

I Am Lazarus: Stories by Anna Kavan

blogPost, 07/01/2015

Unlike Julia and the Bazooka, this collection of Kavan’s short fiction was originally published during her lifetime, and the significance of this distinction is clear. This book is more balanced, with most if not all of the stories written during a period of Kavan’s life in wartime London following her return from living abroad. While there are a few that stray beyond the more obvious parallels to Kavan’s experience, such as the gothic tale ‘The Brother’ and the horror snapshot ‘The Gannets’, most stories here reflect that distinct time in her life.

Extreme appearances: Anxiety Cut-Up (with Anna Kavan)

blogPost, 03/12/2012

I'm in residence in Pittsburgh at the Cyber Punk Apocalypse, indulging my whims. Today I attempted a Burroughs-style cut-up with an existential excerpt from my journal and a selection from "Ice," by Anna Kavan, a bleak surrealist novel I'm currently reading. I took the liberty of changing some tenses and inserting punctuation.

Anna Kavan (1901-1968)

blogPost, 04/09/2007

Anna Kavan was born "Helen Woods" in Cannes, France on April 10, 1901 to wealthy expatriot British parents. Anna spent her childhood in several European countries, California and England. She completed her education in England. She married (Donald Ferguson) and for a time lived in Burma.

Anna Kavan © Orlando Project

webpage, 2006-2014

Women's Writing in the British isles from the Beginnings to the Present

Urban Gothic of the Second World War : Dark London

book, 01/04/2010

This book examines 'home front' literature of the Second World War, arguing that Gothic tropes and forms mark moments of fracture in the national mythologies of wartime home, city and fellowship. These works in the Gothic mode subvert mythologies of nation that are still influential today. Anna Kavan, Mervyn Peake, Elizabeth Bowen, Roy Fuller, Henry Green and others present counter-stories to the dominant national mythology of British survival and emotional resilience. In the texts of this monograph, the city grows strange, time distorts, and hallucinatory narrative voices depict a nightmare realm.

Winter Is Coming: Ice by Anna Kavan

blogPost, 20/03/2012

From the outset it is obvious that Ice is a novel about obsession but it rapidly becomes clear that it is overwhelmingly about illness.

The World Within Fiction Illuminating Neuroses Of Our Time


with an introduction and analyses by Frederic Wertham, M.D. Included are selections from E.T.A. Hoffman, Dostoevsky, Chekov, Henry James, Proust, Kafka, Aiken, E.B. White, Anna Kavan, Truman Capote, Edita Morris, Coates, James Still, Eudora Welty and William Faulkner

10 More Great Writers Nobody Reads

blogPost, 18/02/2016

At Writers No One Reads, our infrequently updated blog dedicated to overlooked, under-read, marginalized, minor, peripheral, goofy, weird, forsaken, out-of-fashion, overlooked, ahead of their time, and justly and unjustly obscure writers...

Book Review: Ice, Anna Kavan (1967)

blogPost, 01/02/2015

Anna Kavan’s masterful post-apocalyptical novel Ice (1967) parallels the death throws of a relationship with the disintegration of the world. As the unnamed narrator (N) and the girl (G) traverse an indistinct, interchangeable, world transformed by glacial encroachment, only the same movements are possible: flight, pursuit, flight, pursuit… Repetition reinforces the profoundly unnerving feel of both physical and mental imprisonment: as movements are predicted, trauma is repeated.


webpage, 11/02/2012

This was the first in a regular series of spring exhibitions that explore common concerns and themes in the work of some of the most innovative contemporary artists. Heather and Ivan Morison, Ben Rivers and David Thorpe use film, sculpture, installation and performance to pose questions regarding our relationship to nature and what happens when man-made and natural worlds collide.These exhibitions explore utopian beliefs and practices and an impending sense of apocalypse. Heather and Ivan Morison presented a new body of work using objects, performance and puppetry to draw on the life and work of 20th century British novelist Anna Kavan.

Literary Luminaries: Beards, Vaginas and the Avant-Garde Novelist – Part II

journalArticle, 10/09/2014

Part II: ReadWomen IN THE FIRST PART of this essay on Monday, I took a look at the way in which cult female novelists are usually forgotten or ignored, whilst male cult authors, from Burroughs to Hunter S. Thompson, remain literary icons that are cherished by the public imagination. The same issue lies with women who are writing Big Books on a large canvas.



My doctoral dissertation explores experimental and semi-autobiographical novels of the 1930s and ’40s written by Jean Rhys, Elizabeth Bowen, Stevie Smith, and Anna Kavan with a focus on language, narrative self-reflexivity, and the subject’s ambivalence about her gender, national, and cultural identity.

Burroughs / Writers on Heroin

blogPost, 23/02/2011

WSB's D.O.C. was of course heroin. This lead me to thinking of other opiate friendly writers. There are not that many distinguished candidates, alcoholic writers, on the other hand, are ten a penny. There are probably a greater number of alcoholic Nobel prize winning writers. Here is a partial list - Will Self, Roberto Bolano, Anna Kavan, Aleister Crowley, Jim Carroll, Mary Butts**, Elizabeth Strong, Irvine Welsh. Some observers are not sure Bolano was much of a user.

Anna Kavan, Julia and the Bazooka

blogPost, 4/10/2010

The thing about trying to record quotes from Anna Kavan is that everything she writes reads this way — splendid, icy, nightmarish — and so that these are merely a random selection from a vast pool.

Attentive Writers’: Healthcare, Authorship, and Authority. Conference Review by Jac Saorsa - Centre for Medical Humanities

webpage, 30/08/2013

After a brief and to the point conference opening address the first parallel panels began and I listened as Geraldine Perriam spoke about Gender, Medical Authority and Location in Fiction by Women. Her talk focused primarily on two texts, Asylum Piece by Anna Kavan, and The Pumpkin Eaters by Penelope Mortimer, wherein a woman with mental health problems, despite in each case being the central character in the narrative, was caught up in a ‘network of practices’ where her choices were made for her by doctors and male relatives.

The Dark Sisters by Helen Ferguson (Anna Kavan)

blogPost, 15/01/2008

I was so very, very lucky to be able to get this book. I had to Interlibrary Loan it from Dublin. The book is a bit rare because it was only printed once. The book is in great condition though, puts modern printing to shame! I was really interested to see what Kavan, since that is the name she changed to later I’ll use it here, wrote next after reading The Charmed Circle.

Doom & Gloom From Anna Kavan

blogPost, 19/08/2006

In an effort to depress myself, I'm reading another one of Anna Kavan's early books: "Change the Name" from 1941, written before she really DID change her name from "Helen Ferguson" to "Anna Kavan." (Anna's sad childhood, depression, heroin addiction, and coping methods are fascinating reading...get her biography if you can).

An Ode to Fluff

blogPost, 13/10/2011

What books are you currently loving? Ooh! Seriously still amazed by Anna Kavan

Leaf-Catcher (for Anna Kavan)


poem for Anna

Anna Kavan

blogPost, 25/07/2010

whenever i discover an artist who has something to say that i want to hear, i’m firstly grateful for their work having found me & then i’m sort of shocked that it’s taken so long, & left wondering where they’ve been all my life. i just bought a brand new 2009 reprint of anna kavan‘s ‘julia & the bazooka‘ for 2.99 from a bookshop in waterloo.

Ice by Anna Kavan

blogPost, 09/11/2011

Ice by Anna Kavan was 70% off, I do not know the writer, but after reading Doris Lessing’s comment, I carted it off with the rest of the titles for purchase. The eerie and strangeness of the story seems an exciting read. I am intrigued how a heroine addict writes one of slipstream’s most significant novel.

Uncovering a real gem

newspaperArticle, 11/07/2009

Anna Kavan's New Zealand is a modest looking book which holds within it a kind of time-bomb. The explosiveness relates to Kavan's strangely powerful, even hypnotic talent. Kavan was a bottle blonde who washed up in New Zealand at that most dangerous of hours - 1942.

In the Frame for May

blogPost, 08/05/2012

Having recently seen a body of contemporary artwork work by Heather and Ivan Morrison inspired by the life and work of the novelist Anna Kavan (1901-1968), on display at The Hepworth Wakefield until 10 June, the Archivist has written the following about Kavan’s portrait of Luz, the ‘elusive protagonist’ of her novels Ice and Mercury:

A 20th century author I had never read before…

blogPost, 17/06/2008

This brings me to a writer of the World War II and mid twentieth century periods, Anna Kavan. There is also a web-site about her work. Guilty (2007) was in fact written much earlier.

Richard R. Centing collection of Anna Kavan


Handwritten and typed letters and postcards from various individuals who knew Kavan (including 5 handwritten letters from Rhys Davies and a typed letter from Raymond B. Marriott); photocopied or excised short stories, articles about Kavan, and bibliographic information, all from various sources; and reprints of photographs of Kavan and two of Kavan's paintings.

Christopher Priest: The Glamour

blogPost, 10/05/2012

The Glamour (1984) is the novel Priest published after The Affirmation, and it is a development of some of the ideas and themes in that book. It has narrative switches and stories within stories; like The Affirmation it is a work of slipstream fiction, where two worlds – two genres – rub shoulders and even merge. It is also – and here is where Priest’s assertion of genre exploration makes sense – a book which tests and teases the reader of mainstream fiction. It would not be surprising if it was inspired in part by Anna Kavan’s Ice (to which Priest has written a foreword).

Guilty by Anna Kavan

webpage, 20/04/2007

Rhys Davies, one of Anna Kavan’s few close friends, wrote an introduction for Julia and the Bazooka (1970), a posthumous collection of her stories linked by their common allusion to her heroin habit.

On Anna Kavan

blogPost, 09/12/2011

Anna Kavan, born Helen Ferguson in 1901 was a very English - and at the same time utterly alien - novelist whose own life took on the quality of an existential mystery. Praised by JG Ballard and Doris Lessing, drawing on Kafka and anticipating slipstream long before it became a genre in British writing, her novels described eerie states of dislocation; a lifelong heroin user, her prose has a needle-sharp precision but her subject matter was never drugs.

A Stranger Still by AK (Helen Ferguson)

blogPost, 08/07/2008

This book was much easier to read then Let Me Alone. The Kavan character isn’t central to the plot.

Archives of Jonathan Cape Ltd - University of Reading


Jonathan Cape established his publishing company in 1921. The firm published both mainstream and more experimental literature, including a number of classic works and best-sellers, and was taken over by Random House in 1987. The collection includes book files 1960-1995 (including editorial, production and publicity correspondence etc.); author correspondence 1920s-1960; ledgers 1920s-1980s; rights correspondence; managing director's files 1960s-1980s.

Julia and her bazooka

blogPost, 01/03/2011


Sisters of the Extreme: Women Writing on the Drug Experience: Charlotte Brontë, Louisa May Alcott, Anaïs Nin, Maya Angelou, Billie Holiday, Nina Hagen, Diane Di Prima, Carrie Fisher, and Many Others

book, 2000-05-01

• An anthology of writings by some of the most influential women in history on the often misunderstood and misrepresented female drug experience.• With great honesty, bravery, and frankness, women from diverse backgrounds write about their drug experiences.Women have been experimenting with drugs since prehistoric times, and yet published accounts of their views on the drug experience have been relegated to either antiseptic sociological studies or sensationalized stories splashed across the tabloids. The media has given us an enduring, but inaccurate, stereotype of a female drug user: passive, addicted, exploited, degraded, promiscuous. But the selections in this anthology--penned by such famous names as Billie Holiday, Anais Nin, Maya Angelou, and Carrie Fisher--show us that the real experiences of women are anything but stereotypical. Sisters of the Extreme provides us with writings by women from diverse occupations and backgrounds, from prostitute to physician, who through their use of drugs dared cross the boundaries set by society--often doing so with the hope of expanding themselves and their vision of the world. Whether with LSD, peyote, cocaine, heroine, MDMA, or marijuana, these women have sought to reach, through their experimentation, other levels of consciousness. Sometimes their quests have brought unexpected rewards, other times great suffering and misfortune. But wherever their trips have left them, these women have lived courageously--if sometimes dangerously--and written about their journeys eloquently.

Unveiling Anna Kavan


Devotees of Anna Kavan may well be surprisedùand perhaps a little put offùthat Peter Owen Publishers has brought out another biography of the acclaimed and esoteric author (Asylum Piece, Sleep Has this House, Ice, and Mercury). However, Jeremy Reed's prying book, A Stranger on Earth, has unearthed original material that uncovers a whole lot about someone who went to great lengths to turn herself into an enigma for posterity.

Slipstream (genre) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia





Blogposts related to Kavan

sombre indifference and a talking book

blogPost, 03/07/2009

I live in a geographically isolated place, Napier. It takes five hours driving to reach Auckland, the city in which I grew up. When I was a kid we used to come down and visit my grandmother in Napier. There was one part of the road which was notorious. This was the Napier-Taupo road. It starts off being very flat then you enter a series of corrugations where the hills become increasingly moutainous, until you lose cellphone contact and there are no houses. It is very beautiful. Strangely beautiful.

Anna Kavan, 'Julia and the Bazooka': a critique

blogPost, 15/12/2013

Writers such as Brian Aldiss and J.G. Ballard have praised the writings of Anna Kavan, but I find her work uneven – I couldn’t get beyond the first few pages of self-indulgent, rambling dream visions in Sleep Has His House, first published in 1948. Julia and the Bazooka is also uneven, but serves as a good introduction to the qualities (and weaknesses) of Kavan’s fiction.

Anna Kavan : brilliant like ice

blogPost, 29/09/2011

Her descriptions burned so brightly when I first began reading the work of Anna Kavan that I felt a kinship with her almost at once. I have sometimes wandered past her last home in Peel Street, London, in pilgrimage. The novels and memoirs stand on my shelves: I came across Ice first, then Asylum Piece and My Madness, then Let me Alone, Julia and the Bazooka with its 1960s hip bohemianism, and Sleep Has His House.

Time Bites

book, 2004

Towards the end of this long life, Goethe said that he had only just learned how to read. In this collection of the very best of Doris Lessing's essays - never before published in book form - we are treated to the wisdom and keen insight of a writer who has herself learned, over the course of a long, rich, life, to read the world differently.

Reality had always been something of an unknown quantity to me

blogPost, 06/08/2007

Anna Kavan was the pen-name of Helen Woods (1901-68), a British writer and artist (her self-portrait can be seen here). By all accounts she was a deeply damaged individual: prone to mental illness and a lifelong heroin addict, she attempted suicide several times in the course of her life.

Mercury by Anna Kavan

blogPost, 06/07/2012

I thought from what was said about Anna Kavan's Mercury that it would be litfic uncomfortably fitted into the fantasy genre. This was largely confirmed when I saw that Doris Lessing had written the foreword, and what she had said about the book. Litfic and I seem to have an uneasy relationship. I generally don't like it, I'm getting the feeling I must be some sort of literary philistine.

Agamben, Anna Kavan (irreparable)

blogPost, 25/09/2010

How can nature exist ? To this Anna Kavan wandering across europe really allows for a single response because you’ll remain “a stranger still” as you approach the “bright green field” having left the asylum after suffering a “scarcity of love”. The car driving across the ice, the heavy gun in his pocket. The girls, the drugs, the small bare rooms in which you can hear the birds singing in the trees. All this is marked by the fact of its being irreparable, its this which is written into Kavan’s world, her writing which engraves into things.

Ice and Guilty by Anna Kavan

webpage, 24/09/2007

About a year ago, I attended the guest of honor talk at ICon, the Israeli science fiction and fantasy convention. The speaker was Neil Gaiman, and his topic was dreams. With typical low-key irreverence, Mr. Gaiman sidestepped his assigned subject. Nothing, he claimed, is quite so boring as actual dreams, in which the mind's processing centers, cut off from the senses and from higher reasoning, continue to churn and light up, producing certainties and causal leaps ("and suddenly it wasn't my high school gym teacher; it was my mother" is my best recollection of Mr. Gaiman's way of describing this effect) that have no relation to logic, narrative, or even metaphor and symbolism. Anna Kavan's Ice unfolds with a similar dream-like logic.


blogPost, 15/08/2013


Rhys Davies: A Writer’s Life

book, 01/09/2013

Rhys Davies (1901-78) was among the most dedicated, prolific and accomplished of Welsh prose-writers, in both the short story and the novel form. By temperament a loner, he gave up his life entirely to his writing. A homosexual in the days before the Sexual Offences Act, he maintained complete discretion and ‘acted straight’. The only woman to whom he was drawn was Anna Kavan (1901-68), a fellow-novelist and drug addict, whom he saved from suicide on two occasions.

AK, Ice

blogPost, 01/09/2012


BOOK REVIEW: Ice by Anna Kavan. Interior landscapes cast in ice.

blogPost, 02/08/2013

Kafka cavorts with Plath in this post-apocalyptic novel by the late Anna Kavan. A thermonuclear device has been detonated, and the world slowly awaits its fate as the planet freezes. In this new Ice Age, a nameless narrator searches for the girl he loves. But this isn’t just another version of love among the ruins. The imminent destruction of the world has set in motion the erosion of civilization. Random acts of violence and mass hysteria take over the cities, as the icebergs creep closer.

Updates: Recent Science Fiction Acquisitions N. XXXVIII (Spinrad + Harrison + Kavan + Effinger)

blogPost, 19/09/2012

Ah, when I have access to a massive inexpensive catalogue (Marx Books) the quality of my finds goes up and up…..

Anna Kavan by Jennifer Sturm


Share Facebook Twitter In This Episode Dr Jennifer Sturm and friend Debbie Knowles discuss the life and work of Anna Kavan, an ‘unconventional’ and enigmatic personality whose experiences in NZ over 18 months in the 1940’s were written about in Sturm’s insightful book ‘Anna Kavan’s New Zealand’. Sturm’s research and her discovery of previously unpublished short stories by Anna Kavan has contributed significantly to renewed interest in the work of a woman whose writing has been compared to that of Virginia Woolf, Djuna Barnes and Jean Rhys.

Friends of Promise: Cyril Connolly and the World of Horizon:

book, 2009

This original book gives a revealing picture of the extraordinarily talented group of men and women who produced Horizon, the foremost literary review of the 1940s. Published monthly in Bloomsbury, Horizon was a cultural beacon during the dark days of the Second World War; it was brilliantly eclectic and fiercely independent. Its principal editor, Cyril Connolly, regarded the pleasures of life and art as inseparable, cultivating his love of literature with the same intensity that characterized his love of good food and fine wine, and beautiful women.

Anna Kavan, 'The Parson': a critique -

blogPost, 16/12/2013

I wrote about Anna Kavan and her story collection Julia and the Bazooka on this blog yesterday. Born in Cannes in 1901, Kavan died in 1968. The Parson was discovered among her papers and published posthumously. It seems to have been written in the late 50s-early 60s.

My Last Heather and Ivan Morison Puppet Show

blogPost, 06/06/2012

As part of their exhibition, Anna, at The Hepworth Wakefield, Heather and Ivan Morison asked a number of Visitor Services Assistants to enact their (the artists’) interpretation of the novel Ice by Anna Kavan (following strict instructions) using specially created puppets. The show was 22 minutes long and took place every Saturday and Wednesday at 3.00.

Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.: An Inventory of Its Records in the Manuscript Collection at the Harry Ransom Center


The firm of Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. was founded in 1915 in New York. The first book published by the firm was Four Plays, by Emile Augier, printed by the Plimpton Press. From the very beginning, the firm demonstrated that it would be unique, binding the book in orange and blue, and advertising the book by emphasizing its imprint, instead of its author or subject.

Anna Kavan, Doris Lessing and bath plugs

blogPost, 26/05/2007

Anna who? Hmm is it just me again? Anna Kavan nee Helen Woods, then Ferguson, born in Cannes probably in 1901, two divorces, nervous breakdowns, heroin addiction, name changes.

Winstons dad’s been to library

blogPost, 03/05/2012

Guilty by Anna Kavan – I think after reading Max’s post on Ice by Kavan I fancied trying here books so there was ice and this one on the library shelves so I choose this one a Kafkaesque style as mark struggles with life after his father returns from the war

these are a few of my favourite…

blogPost, 12/03/2008

Books are our best friends. And they hardly ever let us down. I find second hand books especially fascinating, they have a life of their own…and you can find the weirdest things forgotten between the pages, such as old creepy letters, black & white pictures, postcards from 20, 30, 40 years ago…


blogPost, 28/09/2011

I love the North London Line, and this was a perfect North London afternoon. There is something magical and breathless about the city in the embrace of an Indian summer, and yesterday I had the joy of experiencing it again when Chris and I went up to town for the launch of the Solaris anthology House of Fear. We spent the afternoon in Kensington, having lunch near Holland Park and then making our way across to Hillsleigh Road and nearby Peel Street, both once home to the writer Anna Kavan.

Books read in August

blogPost, 02/09/2012

Sleep Has His House – Anna Kavan Unique. In my experience. I can think of no other novel that I have read that comes anywhere near this. Based in part on her own life and withdrawal from the world, it is a truly surreal journey from day into night, from reality into dreams, from normality into a world of symbolism that is cut off from the mainstream. Yet it manages at the same to imply that, in fact, the night and the dreams and the symbols are a much more fundamental reality underlying the chaotic world in which we are expected to live.

Hello My Name is Anna Kavan

webpage, 2012

HELLO MY NAME IS ANNA KAVAN is a 15 minute 3-D animated film. It is based on the writings of british novelist Anna Kavan. Kavan herself becomes a character in the piece as she tells a story about her integration into B.F. Skinner's nightmare Utopia, Walden Two. As she narrates a tale of isolation and imprisonment (recurring themes in Kavan's fiction), memories from her life before her entrance into the community begin to surface, including a memory of a sadistic chauffeur which refers to another recurring theme in Kavan's fiction; cars and speed.

The hallucination of one moment did not fit the reality of the next

blogPost, 06/03/2012

I’ve written before of how sometimes work, life generally, can wreck my reading of a book. A busy period, a week passes without a page turned, and suddenly a great book has become a chore. I don’t remember what’s going on or who the characters are or why the plot involves a chihuaha*. The book becomes staccato and dissolves into incoherence.

Anna Kavan: The Best Kept Secret Of English Modernism

blogPost, 01/02/2014

We have dedicated this section of the website to the passing on of the good word of short story collections that we feel have been either been missed or forgotten about, for one reason or another, but that deserve and need to be read. The first one I’ve selected is Julia and the Bazooka by Anna Kavan. Anna who? Exactly.

Novel Approach: Peter Owen

magazineArticle, 01/02/2011

The cult junkie author Anna Kavan, whom Nin admired, owes her posthumous reputation to Owen, who has singlehandedly kept her work in print. The author of Ice, who died in 1968 with enough heroin stockpiled in her house to kill the whole street, did so on the night she was expected at one of Peter Owen’s parties. When the police broke in the door, they found the gold invitation, so Owen was the first person they called. “I didn’t realise at the time that I was dealing with a really major writer who would become a cult figure,” Owen admits. She was also rather difficult to deal with. After one brusque encounter with Kavan, Owen was told by a mutual friend, “You’ve got off lightly tonight. The last time I was here she threw a chicken at me.”

Honeysuckle girl

book, 1975

The relationship between Welsh novelist Rhys Davies and cult author Anna Kavan is a fascinating one. I guess what drew them together must have been their outsider status - Davies the closeted homosexual and Kavan the secret heroin addict.

In R J Dent's Library - Anna Kavan


A look at the works of a renowned author in R J Dent's library - Anna Kavan

Trillion Year Spree: The History of Science Fiction

book, 1986

This is an updated and greatly expanded version of Aldiss's highly respected Billion Year Spree (1973). The first ten chapters remain the same, with six new chapters added. Aldiss considers Mary Shelley's Frankenstein as the first modern science fiction story and contends that all current science fiction has inherited its literary form from that novel and its Gothic offshoots.

The Freud Museum ~ Events and Conferences ~ Anna Kavan and the Politics of Madness

webpage, 10/12/2013


Ice Cubes, Iced Tea, and Icebergs

blogPost, 18/07/2012

I think I’ll reread Anna Kavan’s Ice, a surreal science fiction novel about a post-apocalyptic Ice Age. The narrator is obsessed with a beautiful girl, who flees from him all over the planet.

Who Are You?

blogPost, 12/06/2007

It's Anna Kavan time again. I'm enjoying tuning into her writing so much and having just finished her 1963 novel Who Are You? I think there is no doubt I will now have to read everything by and about her..thanks Kit at Peter Owen!

Picador Books – Part 7 – Anna Kavan, Ken Kesey, Maxine Hong Kingston, J K Klavans & Richard Klein

blogPost, 05/04/2010

Anna Kavan’s novels were rediscovered in the 1970s and Picador published at least two of them, Ice and Sleep Has His House

Doris Lessing reviews new Anna Kavan bio

blogPost, 17/08/2006

A new biography of Anna Kavan, A Stranger on Earth, by that pest Jeremy Reed is reviewed by Doris Lessing here: Independent Online Edition > Reviews. I call Jeremy Reed a pest because he has managed to write either Fiction or Non-Fiction on nearly ever fun subject. Every time I turn around to see what's been written about Rimbaud or Artaud, there's that damn Jeremy Reed. And now he has this biography coming out on my favorite fiction writer, Anna Kavan. Underappreciated she is, but then again you might easily believe that this is the way she would have wanted it. Her work has often been compared to Doris Lessing, so her thoughts on the subject are relevant:

Anna Kavan - De Quincey's heir, Kafka's sister

blogPost, 07/12/2009

Anna Kavan (April 10, 1901—1968; born Helen Emily Woods) was a British novelist, short story writer and painter.

What we're reading now

blogPost, 20//02/2014

Larry recently discovered Anna Kavan's Asylum Pieces and really enjoyed it. Ice was her final book.

Found Guilty: Anna Kavan's latest novel

newspaperArticle, 28/06/2007

A lost manuscript of a novel by the British writer Anna Kavan - which turned up at the University of Tulsa of all places - will be published next week. I, for one, am deliriously happy about the publication of Guilty, since Anna Kavan, who died in 1968, is one our greatest and most original novelists.

Anna Kavan : Asylum Piece (1940)

blogPost, 06/07/2012

Anna Kavan (1901–68) was born Helen Woods, although she initially wrote as Helen Ferguson, her married name. Following the failure of her second marriage and one of many nervous breakdowns she changed her name to Anna Kavan, the main character of her novel Let Me Alone (1930). Asylum Piece is a collection of short stories which her publisher Peter Owen describes as 'mostly interlinked and largely autobiographical'. The cover shows Karl Theodor Bluth, the doctor who prescribed Kavan's heroin and co-wrote The Horse's Tail (1949) with her.