Author Joanna Kavenna focuses on childbirth in novel

Wed May 12, 2010 3:52am EDT
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By Belinda Goldsmith

SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - For award-winning British author Joanna Kavenna it took seven unpublished novels before she made it took the book shelves, finding time and life experiences, such as having children, had enhanced her writing.

Kavenna, aged in her mid-30s, always wanted to be a writer but discovered she needed experience to find the right story.

Her first book, "The Ice Museum", a first-person travelogue, was published in 2005 to much acclaim and was followed two years later by the novel "Inglorious", about a woman turning her life upside down, which won the Orange Prize for New Writers.

Her newly released novel, "The Birth of Love", focuses on childbirth with four intertwining stories.

Kavenna, who studied English literature at Bristol and did a doctoral degree at Oxford on the poetry of Charlotte Mew, spoke to Reuters from Italy where she is writing her third novel:

Q: Why did you start your career with a travelogue?

A: "I wanted to write about these northerly lands and I got to travel through all these layers of history from Scotland into Norway to Greenland. It took many years and it was a meditative book. I stayed in Norway for a year and in Estonia. I loved doing it but my bent has always been quite novelistic. I wrote an amazing collection of unpublished novels. So I came up with Rosa whose life is up in the air after the death of her mother and that sends her off on a quest. That was "Inglorious"."

Q: Your latest novel takes up the topic of childbirth, written as you had two children. Is it auto-biographical?   Continued...