I was born in Manchester and grew up in a village on the Lancashire moors, with year-long forays to New Orleans and Arizona, while my dad was teaching at the universities there. My first memories are of New Orleans when I was three; the heat, the humidity and being bounced along in a pushchair with a Piggly-Wiggly grocery bag on my knee.
I studied English at Wadham College, Oxford University and after graduating travelled in central America before moving to London to train to be an actor at RADA. I spent a good while as a professional actor, of which one of the highlights has to have been a role in Dr Who (and an action figure of my character, Novice Hame!) The lowlights were undoubtedly my long stretches of unemployment. Slowly, though, during those periods I began to write, taking courses in short story writing at City Lit in London. I remember finishing a story in one of those classes and having a moment of utter clarity, here was something wonderful, something I didn’t have to undergo a lengthy audition process to experience, or to rely on anyone else to do. I was hooked, and decided to study for a Masters in Creative Writing at Birkbeck College, London.
My first novel Wake was published by Doubleday UK and Random House US in 2014. The Observer called it ‘a masterclass in historical fiction’. Wake has since been published in 11 languages. It was chosen as a Radio 2 Bookclub read, shortlisted for New Writer of the Year at the National Book Awards, shortlisted for the Historical Writers’ Association Debut Crown, and longlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction.
My second novel, The Ballroom, was published in February 2016 by Doubleday UK, and in September 2016 by Random House US. It was called a ‘British version of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,’ by The Times, and was chosen as Richard and Judy Bookclub pick in September 2016.
I also teach creative writing, and am at present a Visiting Fellow at the University of Essex, where I am lecturing on some of my primary research interests, Rebecca Solnit, Virginia Woolf, and the Politics of Uncertainty.
I live in east London with my family, but escape to the mountains of north Wales whenever I can, where I love to walk and wild swim.
Thanks so much for visiting, please do get in touch via Twitter @anna_hope
Or you can contact me via my agent Caroline Wood at Felicity Bryan Associates. http://www.felicitybryan.org.uk/agents/
Or my publicist, Alison Barrow at Transworld Books @alisonbarrow