Anna Kavan: Biography

Anna Kavan

10 apr 1901

Born as Helen Emily Woods on Apr 10, 1901, Anna published her first six works under the name of Helen Ferguson, her first married name. There was no lack of trauma in Anna’s life. Anna was pushed to be alone for most of her childhood, since her parents travelled very frequently. When she was about 10 years, her father died committing suicide. Although Anna grew up to become an innovative author, her struggles of the past had a major hit on her.

Anna studied at the London Central School of Arts and Crafts. ‘Asylum Piece’ was the first collection of stories which brought her great acclaim. She also contributed articles, stories and wrote reviews for the literary journal ‘Horizon’, where she also worked as a secretary. Anna’s writing style showed a difference in her short story collection named, ‘I Am Lazarus’.

The change in Anna’s writing style and her physical appearance also marked a transformation in her mental well – being. It was the time that she changed her name to ‘Anna Kavan’, a character in her novel, ‘Let Me Alone’. Anna had two failed marriages. It was soon after the end of her second marriage that Anna attempted suicide and was treated at a psychiatric clinic at Switzerland.

Slowly Anna got addicted to Heroin. It is said that since Anna had a severe depression, she used Heroin as a medication. Anna died of a heart failure on 5 Dec, 1968 which may have resulted due to the over usage of Heroin. Anna’s last novel, ‘Ice’ published in 1967 brought her a huge success, more than any other novels.

Anna with her innovative method of writing has attracted many authors and even today she continues to inspire her fans.