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Ann Kelley - Author

About the Author

Ann Kelley is a photographer and prize-winning poet who once nearly played cricket for Cornwall. She has previously published a collection of poems and photographs, a book of photos of St Ives families and an audio book of cat stories.

She lives with her second husband and several cats on the edge of a cliff in Cornwall where they have survived a flood, a landslip, a lightning strike and the roof blowing off. She runs courses for aspiring poets at her home, writing courses for medics and medical students, and speaks about her poetry therapy work with patients at medical conferences.

THE BOWER BIRD, like the first Gussie book, THE BURYING BEETLE, is written in the first person present tense – and is, in part, a stream of consciousness. Not a lot happens, but Gussie is sieving knowledge and ideas in her head and the reader gets to see how her mind works. Her life, although limited by her illness, is a full, exciting life, full of wonder and glee about everything she experiences.

From the author: "My son, Nathan died in 1985, aged 24, a week after a heart and lung transplant. He had a rare congenital heart defect – pulmonary atresia – the lack of a pulmonary artery.

A clever lad, a scientist, he knew he had a short time to live but he lived every day to the full in the only way he could – studying, learning and with humour.

He was a self-taught fish pathologist – an ichthyologist.

He actually discovered two cancers in fish when he was 16; they are registered in his name in the SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTE and he studied Pathobiology at Reading University and then Space Science at UCL, before he became too ill to continue.

Gussie isn’t my son. She is an amalgamation of several people – my daughter, my grand daughter, my son and me – and she is mostly herself, an odd, funny bookish child, eccentric and thoughtful – a one off, as Nathan was.

 But she is also the embodiment of many children who bravely find a way to live through health and emotional problems.

My son knew that even with a successful transplant, in those days he would only have had a few more years. But he was so happy to have been given that chance.

I think that is why I write about Gussie – to make people see the importance of being an organ donor."

Featured books by Ann Kelley

Runners

Runners

Author: Ann Kelley Format: Paperback Release Date: 16/09/2014

As mankind strives to rebuild society in the wake of climate change, over-population and global food shortages, every day is a struggle for people like Sid and his younger sister Lo. They are 'runners'- people whose very survival the government has outlawed. As they move west, trying to find family or somewhere they can call home, they must work out which of the people they meet on the way can be trusted, and which want to cut their adventure short. Encountering people on both sides of the law, as well as those who seem to exist outside it, Sid and Lo make and lose friends as they fight for their lives and each other.

Last Days in Eden

Last Days in Eden

Author: Ann Kelley Format: Hardback Release Date: 17/07/2014

She had made me envious. Strange as it might seem, I had not known envy before. Surely there must be other ways of living, I thought, not hand-to-mouth, alone, in a draughty old shack looking out at the same scene, day after day. Was this to be my future? It's 2137, and the future's dark. Sixteen-year-old Flora is scraping out a humble living, selling homegrown supplies from her late grandparents' run-down Shell Shack and keeping her illegal copy of Pride and Prejudice hidden from the terrifying Uzi soldiers. But Flora's life changes when she meets Li-li, the daughter of a powerful Rice Lord. Flora is seduced by the lavish lifestyle of her rulers, but also sees the brutality that underpins their lifestyle. What choices will she face on her last days in Eden?

Other books by Ann Kelley

Runners

Runners

Author: Ann Kelley Format: Paperback Release Date: 16/09/2014

As mankind strives to rebuild society in the wake of climate change, over-population and global food shortages, every day is a struggle for people like Sid and his younger sister Lo. They are 'runners'- people whose very survival the government has outlawed. As they move west, trying to find family or somewhere they can call home, they must work out which of the people they meet on the way can be trusted, and which want to cut their adventure short. Encountering people on both sides of the law, as well as those who seem to exist outside it, Sid and Lo make and lose friends as they fight for their lives and each other.

Last Days in Eden

Last Days in Eden

Author: Ann Kelley Format: Hardback Release Date: 17/07/2014

She had made me envious. Strange as it might seem, I had not known envy before. Surely there must be other ways of living, I thought, not hand-to-mouth, alone, in a draughty old shack looking out at the same scene, day after day. Was this to be my future? It's 2137, and the future's dark. Sixteen-year-old Flora is scraping out a humble living, selling homegrown supplies from her late grandparents' run-down Shell Shack and keeping her illegal copy of Pride and Prejudice hidden from the terrifying Uzi soldiers. But Flora's life changes when she meets Li-li, the daughter of a powerful Rice Lord. Flora is seduced by the lavish lifestyle of her rulers, but also sees the brutality that underpins their lifestyle. What choices will she face on her last days in Eden?

Lost Girls

Lost Girls

Author: Ann Kelley Format: eBook Release Date: 10/07/2012

No parents. No rules. No way home.Fourteen-year-old Bonnie MacDonald couldn't be more excited for a camping trip on an island off the coast of Thailand. But when a strong current sweeps Bonnie and her friends past their appointed campsite, depositing them instead on what the boatman calls a "e;forbidden island,"e; they're just happy to have reached dry land.Overnight, things take a turn for the worse. Three torturous days pass, but the boatman doesn't return, and what once seemed like a vacation in paradise becomes a battle against the elements.Peppered with short, frantic entries from Bonnie's journal as she struggles to survive, Lost Girls tells the page-turning, heart-pounding story of a group of teen girls fighting for their lives.

A Snail's Broken Shell

A Snail's Broken Shell

Author: Ann Kelley Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/05/2010

For the first time in years Gussie can run, climb and jump. Every breath she takes is easier now, and every step more confident, but Gussie can't help wondering about her doner. Was she young? Had she been very sick or was there an accident? And with her new life comes a whole new set of problems. She is going back to school at last - but she doesn't know anyone her own age, with the exception of Siobhan, the girl she hates most in the world. With school not meeting up to her expectations, Gussie turns to her old pastimes of bird watching and photography, but troubling news awaits her there too. And the lightning strikes and Gussie must act at once.

The Light at St Ives

The Light at St Ives

Author: Ann Kelley Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/04/2010

France has Montmartre, Prague has Mala Strana and England has St Ives, an enclave where artists can create freely and showcase their works to the world. Costa winner award Ann Kelley (Koh Tabu, OUP Oxford, 9780192756046) has already proved to be an excellent photographer with her previous books Sea Front: A Cornish Souvenir and Paper Whites: Photographs and Poems. Ann Kelley expresses herself in photographs as if they were words. Her style is simple but special, careful and delicate and her photographs genuinely capture the atmosphere of this beautiful Cornish town.

Inchworm

Inchworm

Author: Ann Kelley Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/08/2009

Gussie is a twelve year old girl from St. Ives in Cornwall. She is passionate about learning, wildlife, poetry, literature, and she wants to be a photographer when she grows up. But her dreams were put on hold as she struggled with a serious heart condition. Now she has got what she needed: a heart and lung transplant. But it isn't working out quite the way she thought. Firstly she has to leave her beloved Cornwall to live in London and in the months following her operation she is unable to do very much except read and adopt a stray kitten, but she could do that when she was sick. She craves adventure and experience beyond her four walls, until, that is, she hits upon a plan - she is going to get her divorced parents to fall in love again. It's not going to be easy, her mum is still dating her doctor boyfriend and despises Gussie's father, who happens to be living with his new girlfriend - the Snow Queen. But Gussie is a determined girl and there is only one thing that could stop her now.

The Bower Bird

The Bower Bird

Author: Ann Kelley Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 10/01/2008

Winner of the 2007 Costa award, this title continues the story of Gussie, a precocious young girl diagnosed with a rare heart condition. Despite her health problems, she is determined to live life to the fullest, experiencing typical adolescent woes such as love and strained relations with her parents. Never complaining, she offers a direct and honest insight about herself and the world around her, bringing this poignant, charming and oddly optimistic tale to life.

The Burying Beetle

The Burying Beetle

Author: Ann Kelley Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/07/2005

Meet Gussie. Twelve years old and settling into her new ramshackle home on a cliff top above St Ives, she has an irrepressible zest for life. She also has a life-threatening heart condition. But it's not in her nature to give up. Perhaps because she knows her time might be short, she values every passing moment, experiencing each day with humour and extraordinary courage. Spirited and imaginative, Gussie has a passionate interest in everything around her and her vivid stream of thoughts and observations will draw you into a renewed sense of wonder. Gussie's story of inspiration and hope is both heartwarming and heartrending. Once you've met her, you'll not forget her. And you'll never take life for granted again.

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http://www.annkelley.co.uk/

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