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Anne Berry was born in London in 1956, then spent much of her infancy in Aden, before moving on to Hong Kong at the age of six, where she was educated, first at Little Peak School, then Big Peak School, finally at the Island School, where she completed her A levels. She worked for a short period as a journalist for the South China Morning Post, before returning to Britain. After completing a three-year acting course at the Guildford School of Acting, and attaining LAMDA diplomas with honours in acting, teaching and speech therapy, she embarked on a career in theatre. She played pantomime to Shakespeare, and everything in between, shuttling around regional theatres. Most memorable were seasons spent at Theatre Clwyd Wales, Theatre Royal Windsor and Regents Park Open Air Theatre.
Waylaid by love and marriage, Anne and her husband settled in Surrey with their four children. In 1992 they moved to their present home in the village of Bookham. Here Anne founded a small drama school, running it for over ten years. Throughout this period she wrote over thirty plays, performed by the pupils of the school.
Anne's first love is writing, and it is now her full-time occupation. She remembers loving nothing so well as being given an imaginative composition for English homework at Peak School in Hong Kong. Coming a close second is theatre, with an unbridled passion for Shakespeare. She is an art lover, with Vermeer and Caravaggio being particular favourites. Anne is also a keen swimmer and walker. She has had undiminished support from her family in her writing career.
Growing up as the only child of strict, God-fearing parents, Lucilla has always felt her difference. But it is not till adulthood that she discovers the real reasons behind her adopted mother's oft times violent indifference. As for Harriet, she would have readily sent her longed for baby back if she could, having discovered she falls all too short of her expectations. And then there is Bethan, a young girl in 1940s Wales, whose only mistake is falling in love with the wrong man...
Owen Abingdon is haunted by nightmares of the Merfolk. He believes they have stolen his little sister who vanished while he was meant to be minding her on the beach, but he was only a child himself. Is it fair for his mother to blame him? Catherine Hoyle's perfect Christmas with her cousin from America was blighted when they went skating on thin ice and Rosalyn nearly died. Somehow, instead of being praised for raising the alarm, Catherine gets blamed. Sean Madigan grew up on a farm in Ireland. Learning to swim in the Shannon was his way of escaping the bitter poverty of his childhood, but it also incurred his father's wrath. He flees to England, but his heart belongs to the Shannon and her pulling power is ever near! Unlike the other three, Naomi Seddon didn't fear the sea. She'd been orphaned and placed in a children's home in Sheffield and cruelly abused. The sea offered her a way out and she revelled in its cruel power. The water children meet in London in the searing hot summer of 1976 and Naomi uses her siren's charm to lure Owen, Catherine and Sean into her tangled web of sexual charm and dangerous passion. A holiday in the Tuscan mountains with a flooded reservoir and its legend of the beautiful Teodora who drowned there brings this emotional drama to a powerful climax. Will the power of family, love and redemption finally help the water children conquer their fears and triumph over their childhood traumas?
Longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2010. The Desmond Elliott Prize is an annual award for a first novel written in English and published in the UK. Worth £10,000 to the winner, the prize is named after the literary agent and publisher, Desmond Elliott. Click here to find out more. A superb novel from a great new talent. The story unfolds told from the different perspectives of each family member and from Alice’s “Ghost”. Unloved by her mother and at a disadvantage in the family from the start Alice’s ‘possession’ leads to more and more turmoil and tragedy, with Alice herself not truly understanding what is happening to her. Each character is fascinating and the descriptions of Hong Kong and the family’s life there are vivid. This is a wonderful book and highly recommended. Click the screen below to watch a video of Anne Berry discussing The Hungry Ghosts.