Anna lived from 1901 until 1968. She is best known for being a writer of such works as Ice and Asylum Piece. More specifically, she is known for being a drug-addicted and mentally unstable writer and artist who ironically died of natural causes next to a full needle.
Her name was Helen Emily Woods, but she didn't like that name, or the name Ferguson her despised first husband gave her. Instead, she created and subsequently became the character Anna Kavan, who appeared in her early work. She began to use the name in 1940 with Asylum Piece, and eventually had hers legally changed.
Her father killed himself when Anna was young. Originally British, her parents brought her up all over the world. Her two husbands took her elsewhere. But London is where she belonged and died.
Anna spent her life fighting depression and spinal disease with heroin and her art. She attempted suicide three known times, when the people most important to her died or left. She started an architecture company in 1950 and oversaw the construction of the home in which she herself died. She exhibited her paintings in 1935 in London. She was an editor for Horizon magazine.
Often compared to Franz Kafka, Anna's work frequently dealt with personal issues and with her drug use, which was considerable.
Anna's works included:
(as Helen Ferguson)
A Charmed Circle (1929)
The Dark Sisters (1930)
Let Me Alone (1930)
A Stranger Still (1935)
Goose Cross (1936)
Rich Get Rich (1937)
(as Anna Kavan)
Asylum Piece (short stories) (1940)
Change the Name (1941)
I Am Lazurus (short stories (1945)
The House of Sleep (1948)
The Horse's Tale (1949)
A Scarcity of Love (1949)
Eagle's Nest (1957)
A Bright Green Field (short stories) (1958)
Who Are You? (1963)
Julia and the Bazooka (short stories) (1970)
My Soul in China (novella and short stories) (1974)
The Parson (1995)