Who mentions Anna’s paintings ?


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.

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

webpage, 10/12/2013


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.

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.

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.

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.

Anna Kavan’s Beautiful Head

blogPost, 06/07/2011

Anna Kavan’s Beautiful Head

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.

Биография Анна Каван



The case of Anna Kavan: a biography

book, 1992


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. »

show me a ditch, and i'll dive in it



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.

works by helen ferguson aka anna kavan


works by helen ferguson aka anna kavan

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

‘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.

Anna Kavan’s Nocturnal Language

blogPost, 19/10/08

work & life

Anna Kavan

forumPost, 19/03/14

Je viens d' apprendre - et c' est aussi pour cela que j' ai décidé de lui faire une place ici- que le merveilleux éditeur Cambourakis, spécialiste des rééditions qui s' imposent ou encore de livres vraiment originaux, était en train de la rééditer. Qu' il soit ici remercié !

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.

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.