Anna Kavan (1901–1968) began her career writing under her married name Helen Ferguson. It was only after a nervous breakdown that she became Anna Kavan, the protagonist of her 1930 novel Let Me Alone, with an outwardly different persona and new literary style. Much of her life remains an enigma. Kavan suffered periodic bouts of mental illness and long-term drug addiction—she had become addicted to heroin in the 1920s and continued to use it throughout her life—and these facets of her life feature prominently in her work. She died in 1968 of heart failure, soon after the publication of her most celebrated work, Ice.
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