In this interview, the third in a series of interviews with SPOTLIGHT authors, we speak to Ana Tewson-Bozic, whose story Crumbs is published by Myriad Editions.
Spotlight Books is a collaboration between Creative Future, New Writing South and Myriad Editions to discover, guide and support writers who are under-represented due to mental or physical health issues, disability, race, class, gender identity or social circumstance.
See all interviews in this series.
What are the challenges of your own life experiences, and do these present in your writing, as concerns, themes, ways of thinking about writing?
I write to help put words to difficult emotions, to explain a situation, or a mood, I do this to give the reader company in their neuroses, they can look to mine and see my useless guilts and shames, and feel perhaps easier about their own confessions, whether shared or secret. Or I do it so that others may understand my neuroses, if it does not resonate as their own moods do, if it does not relate to their own experience, at least mine can be examined. I have a mood disorder and feel heightened a lot, I write when a mood or situation becomes so heightened it needs to become rid of, to be exorcised onto a page. To be in stone, etched, as a testament to that experience. It is grubby and shameful, the space between ears and sometimes it can be translated into writing to become tangible, and shared.
Is there a writer you particularly admire, and what about their work is powerful to you?
I admire August Strindberg, in many ways. He was very moody, I might share a disorder with this misogynist, but he can really keep emotions high and his plays are manic and his paintings sing and I can really hear his voice and feel his passion. He has an eye for those secrets and situations that can burrow and affect throughout lineages and eras, he paints familial diseases, historic traumas, the intangible which affects the tangible.
What are you working on now?
Some diaries are always on the go, also some short stories. One story imagines a scenario wherein the narrator cannot control his bladder, causing problems in life and making everything tainted, by urine, wallowing in waste until the ailment makes a waste of his life, too. I also have a follow up to Crumbs, as I’d written a shed-load and Crumbs compromised the first 10,000 words of the 30,000 I’d managed to type up from that period.
What made you apply for the Spotlight Books project and how has it had an impact on you?
It was a chancing whim, I always dreamed of having a book with my name upon it, to be part of a conversation with writers I’ve admired in print. I do not tend to finish projects of a standard novel length, but in this case, I reached the required word count for a short story. Creative Future has helped me in recovering from major episodes, sometimes the Art Drop-in course was the only contact I’d have with people outside of my immediate circles, or more specifically, with people outside of my home environment. This is an invaluable organisation for those who struggle to navigate the world, it improves quality of life and provides amazing oportunities such as this.
See all interviews in this series.
Ana Tewson-Bozic grew up in Belgrade and Berlin before moving to London and then to Brighton as a teenager. She has taught in South Korea and also worked as a refuse collector, care-worker, cleaner and proof-reader. She has spent significant time in mental institutions and is diagnosed with schizo-affective disorder.