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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.

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).

Anna Kavan : Neige

blogPost, 15/01/2013

Ces derniers temps, j'ai eu la chance de ne lire que des bons livres mais, je dois bien avouer, rien d'aussi singulier et sublime que ce roman cauchemardesque aux réminiscences "ballardiennes" (le Ballard première période). J'ai découvert cette Anna Kavan, en perpétuelle dépression et morte le nez dans la neige (trop facile, pardonnez-moi !), chez Discipline in Disorder, where else ?

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’s Beautiful Head

blogPost, 06/07/2011

Anna Kavan’s Beautiful Head

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.

A Writer's Ruminations


quote Asylum

Anna Kavan

blogPost, 07/10/2010

« J’avais un ami, un amant. Ou l’ai-je rêvé ? Tant de rêves m’assaillent désormais que je peux à peine distinguer le vrai du faux : des rêves comme de la lumière emprisonnée dans de brillantes cavernes minérales, des rêves lourds, brûlants, des rêves de l’air glaciaire, des rêves comme des machines dans la tête. Je suis allongée entre le mur nu et le remède amer qui forme un dépôt dans le verre nain, et je m’efforce de me souvenir de mon rêve. Je me vois en train de marcher la main dans la main avec quelqu’un d’autre, un être humain dont le cœur et l’esprit ont poussé dans mon cœur et mon esprit. Nous nous promenions ensemble sur beaucoup de routes dans la clarté du soleil (…). Il y avait entre nous une compréhension sans réserve et une paix indestructible. Moi qui avais été solitaire et inaccomplie, j’étais alors exaucée. Nos pensées couraient ensemble comme des lévriers, avec la même rapidité. A l’égal d’une musique, nos pensées étaient la perfection même. »

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.

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

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.


blogPost, 29/08/2014

This is the first time I’ve read an Anna Kavan novel, which, given the brief biography on the book’s rear, seems amazing: a heroin addict for most of her adult life; time spent in mental asylums; changed her name to that of one of her characters. How the hell did I miss her?

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.

‘Senin’ okumanı istediklerimden : ANNA KAVAN , Buz.

blogPost, 2009

(Helen Woods), 1901′de bir İngiliz ailesinin çocuğu olarak Fransa, Cannes’da doğdu. Zengin bir baba ile çocuğunu hem ezen hem de inkâr eden bir annenin kızıydı. 14 yaşındayken, babası ona “hayat boyu yalnızlık” bırakarak öldü. Kavan’ın müreffeh ama sevgisiz çocukluğu Avrupa ve California’da geçti. Yazmaya ilk kocası Donald Ferguson’la birlikte yaşadığı Burma’da (şimdiki Birmanya) başladı. Anna Kavan adını “Women’s Liberation için öncü bir çaba” olarak nitelenen Beni Rahat Bırak romanının kadın kahramanından aldı. Kavan, kahramanın nefret ettiği ve küçümsediği kocasının soyadıydı.

Анна Каван. Лед

blogPost, 24/02/2011

«Лед» – книга о том, как человек, против которого восстает уже и неорганический мир, идет к обретению покоя и целостности в условиях тотальной катастрофы

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.

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.


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.

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.

Neige, d’Anna Kavan

blogPost, 20/11/2013

La britannique Anna Kavan fait partie des écrivains qui se sont forgé un personnage, un masque, une façade qui est devenue partie intégrante de leur œuvre – ce n’est pas pour rien si en 1939 elle fait rayer de l’État civil son nom de baptême pour adopter l’identité de l’un de ses personnages.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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 : 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.

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.

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.

bernur: Kliniken och andra berättelser, Anna Kavan

blogPost, 01/02/2015

Tack vare de mindre svenska förlagen har det blivit möjligt att täppa till några bildningsluckor, så som med Sphinxs förnämliga serie surrealister, och nu Förlaget Glas, som ger ut en bok av Anna Kavan: Kliniken och andra berättelser, i översättning av Helena Eriksson och Helena Fagertun. Kavans författarskap har gått mig helt förbi, och jag har helt missat att romanen Is översattes till svenska 1977.

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.

Neige, de Anna Kavan

blogPost, 11/10/2013

Bon, donc, séance de rattrapage, sur qui sur quoi ? Là, en commençant mon article, je ne savais même pas, et puis finalement j’ai décidé de parler de Neige, de Anna Kavan, paru aux éditions Cambourakis il y a peu.

"Neige" de Anna Kavan aux Editions Cambourakis

blogPost, 06/11/2013

Une romancière singulière, un roman autre. L’appel de la blanche, de la poudreuse, en avalanche. Au creux de chaque ligne, une neige hypnotique et virginale délestant toute trace de vie.

Play sheds new light on strange friendship of Rhys Davies and Anna Kavan

blogPost, 10/09/2013

The team behind the acclaimed play about David Lloyd George - The Wizard, The Goat and the Man Who Won the War - is to offer a new insight into the mysterious friendship between Valleys writer Rhys Davies and cult literary figure Anna Kavan.

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.”

Anais Nin – Dominions

blogPost, 30/10/2015



blogPost, 14/01/2012

re: the apocalypse

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.

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.

Collectez mes données, je n'ai rien à cacher Anatomie d'une idée reçue http://www.bpi.fr/agenda/collectez-mes-donnees-je-nai-rien-a-cacher …

blogPost, Mon, 18 May 2015 11:30:00 GMT


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, Asylum piece, 1940

blogPost, 16/09/2009

A l’origine, la photo d’une femme au visage serein, souriant… Derrière laquelle se cache un monde asilaire, une femme glaciaire, lointaine, un écrivain hors du commun.

Anna Kavan / Mon âme en Chine.

blogPost, 30/06/2012

"La fille avance à côté de moi, le visage levé, rayonnant. A la voir, on devine qu'elle a perdu son âme, qu'un jour son âme s'est envolé en Chine."


blogPost, 01/11/2013

Neige, c’est l’histoire de trois personnes, un trio improbable pris au cœur d’une guerre impitoyable qui étend son souffle froid et ses tentacules de glace sur le monde.

So many dreams are crowding upon me now that I can...


“So many dreams are crowding upon me now that I can scarcely tell true from false: dreams like light imprisoned in bright mineral caves; hot, heavy dreams; ice-age dreams; dreams like machines in...”

Anna Kavan : Neige | oedipe purple

blogPost, 28/01/2014

Il était essentiel pour moi de la trouver sans délai. La situation était alarmante, l’atmosphère tendue, la crise imminente. La rumeur courait d’un acte secret d’agression de la part de quelque puissance étrangère, mais personne ne savait au juste ce qui s’était passé.

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.

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...





blogPost, 2009

Blogger: Profil d'utilisateur : Anna Kavan


blogPost, 31/10/2013

J’ai choisi ce roman à cause de son titre, de sa couverture et de sa quatrième de couverture, et afin de découvrir une publication "adulte" de cette maison d'édition dont je ne connaissais que la section jeunesse. Il y avait quelque chose de très recherché dans la verticalité du titre (comme dans le logo de la maison d'éditions) qui m’a interpellé, avec le nom de l'auteure qui forment une croix.

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.


blogPost, 06/09/11

Kavan's Work

ANNA KAVAN at kipple

blogPost, 04/09/2015

faux stamps

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.

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.

Tell me a story…

blogPost, 11/02/2012

Anna, the Morisons’ installation at the Hepworth Wakefield, evokes presence in a different way. Based on the life and work of cult novelist Anna Kavan, it grasps for archetypes and universals through coded messages.

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.

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.



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.

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.

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.

Genius is of small use to a woman who does not know how to do her hair

blogPost, 02/01/2012

dédicace 2011 - Ice

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.

Livres de Noël : la Neige hallucinatoire d’Anna Kavan

blogPost, 06/12/2013

l’approche des fêtes, Lyon Capitale vous propose chaque jour jusqu’à Noël sa sélection dans les vitrines des libraires. Aujourd’hui, un roman d’Anna Kavan qui nous revient des années 1970.

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.”

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

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.

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.

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.

The Anna Kavan Society

blogPost, 27/10/2011

One of the worst things about hell is that nobody is ever allowed to sleep there, although it’s always night, or at the earliest, about six o’clock in the evening. There are beds, of course, but they’re used for other purposes.” —My Soul in China

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’s Nocturnal Language

blogPost, 19/10/08

work & life

Julia and her bazooka

blogPost, 01/03/2011


Suddenly I notice that one car has selected me as...


“Suddenly I notice that one car has selected me as its prey and is making straight for me through all the chaos. Come on, then! Knock me down, run over me, cut off my existence. I don’t want it -...”



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.

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.

Lesser known Masterpieces of Literary Smut

blogPost, 27/10/2012

Ice by Anna Kavan – not conventionally erotic but hauntingly sadistic and compelling. Woman and man in pursuit of each other, a world encroached by ice, a prisoner escaping her jailer.The ice is encroaching global winter but also the white powder Kavan couldn’t do without


blogPost, 15/08/2013


AK, Ice

blogPost, 01/09/2012


Neige, Anna Kavan

blogPost, 15/11/2013

Nous sommes tellement habitués à lire des histoires à la narration linéaire et logique que notre première réaction face à quelqu'un qui ne respecte pas ce genre de conventions peut être l'indignation, la frustration, voire le rejet. C'est peut-être pour cela que Neige d'Anna Kavan, ayant pourtant déjà été édité en français avant que Cambourakis ne décide de le publier, n'est pas resté dans nos mémoires (francophones). Et c'est bien dommage…

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…..

Blazing the Trail: An interview with Peter Owen

blogPost, 2009-11-24T16:09:07+00:00

On several occasions I met Dalí. He was pretty unpleasant; not directly unpleasant – he wasn’t nasty. He was a major artist, but I felt he lacked integrity. I was there once and during the course o…

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.

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.

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 - buz

blogPost, 06/06/2010

" 'orda çalışırken rahatsız olmazsınız, çok sakindir. ev caddenin aksi yönüne bakar, denize karşıdır: hem oraya kimse gitmez.' adamın işbirliği değerliydi, bu yüzden konuşmayı sürdürmek için insanların neden fiyordun civarından uzak durduklarını sordum. 'çünkü dipte yaşayan ejderlerden korkuyorlar.' ona baktım, şaka yaptığını düşünüyordum; ama yüzü alabildiğine ciddiydi, sesi renksizleşmişti. telefonu olan ve ejderlere inanan biriyle hiç karşılaşmamıştım."

La corte gay di Anna Kavan

blogPost, 14/02/2013

Nata a Cannes quasi per casa, ma cresciuta in Inghilterra ed in America, Anna Kavan ebbe un’infanzia solitaria, agiata ma profondamente infelice, contrassegnata da un rapporto difficilissimo con la ricchissima madre e dal suicidio dell’amatissimo padre. I suoi matrimoni, ben due, furono fallimentari, la sua dipendenza della morfina una costante di tutta la sua vita. Umanamente la sua predilezione, quando si trattava di stringere nuove amicizie, era per gli omosessuali.

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.

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.

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!

Anna Kavan, la ciencia ficcion extrana y alucinada : Hielo

blogPost, 28/10/2008

Conocí Hielo, de Anna Kavan, porque soy aficionada a la ciencia ficción y estaba preparando una Bibliografía de escritoras del género. Alguien me recomendó la novela, como uno de esos ejemplos en que una autora no especializada en CF hace una incursión en esa literatura que -tanto respecto a los autores como al público aficionado- tiene mucho de ghetto.

Anna Kavan, Eagle's Nest


1957: “ Everything appeared slightly distorted to me just then. I saw the station as the garishly lit shrine of some cult, dedicated to huge iron monsters, bellowing peremptorily at the timid...

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.

AK (bis) / Obsessionnel.

blogPost, 04/07/2012

Les six pages signées Anna Kavan sortent de nulle part. Aucune trace dans les recueils traduits ou les rares articles consacrés à l'écrivaine anglaise, à peine connue de quelques lecteurs français, les moindres n'étant pas Viviane Forrester, Claire Malroux ou Christine Jordis, talentueuses passeuses.

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.