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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.

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.

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.

Bottle blonde

magazineArticle, 04/07/2009

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

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.

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.”

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.