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Anna Kavan

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Anna Kavan (born 10 April 1901 as Helen Emily Woods, died 1968) was an English writer.

Her early work, comprising six novels, gave little indication of the style and content of her post-1939 writing. The change of her name to the nom de plume Anna Kavan in 1940 signalled an experimental form, focussed on the 'nocturnal language' of dreams and addiction.

'I Am Lazarus' is a collection of short stories that address the disturbing unreality of mental illness, particularly as a result of [war-related] post traumatic stress disorder.

Kavan travelled extensively during the Second World War, spending 22 months in New Zealand. That country's proximity to Antarctica informed her writing of 'Ice' - the post-apocalyptic novel which won her the Brian Aldiss Science Fiction Book of the Year award in 1967.

Kavan's biographical details have until recently been vague and sketchy, but recent discoveries of letters and unpublished manuscripts have shed revealing light on her life and times. Dr Jennifer Sturm of Auckland University has made a recent study of Kavan's writing, and has unearthed significant validation of her biographical details. Kavan is currently enjoying something of a belated interest. London publishers Peter Owen Publishers have for many years flown the Kavan flag and continue to do so, with the recent re-release of 'Ice' and a forthcoming publication of 'Guilty', a new posthumous release of Kavan's work.