5 Things You *Probably* Didn’t Know About Anne Perry

 

“The Cater Street Hangman,” Perry’s first published book

 

1. Her first book wasn’t published until she was 41.

Perry began writing when she was in her twenties; however, her first book wasn’t picked up for publication until many years later. During the time in between, she held various jobs in clerical work, retail, and fashion, and was also a flight attendant and a limo dispatcher for some time. Despite all these jobs, she knew writing was what she wanted to pursue. She has now published over 100 books, including 3 published as recently as this past year. Her fifth Daniel Pitt book is scheduled to be released sometime in 2022.

2. She won an Edgar Award for her short story “Heroes.”

Perry’s story “Heroes” first appeared in the 1999 anthology Murder and Obsession and won the Edgar Award for Best Short Story in 2001. The Edgar Allan Poe Awards, popularly called the Edgars, are presented every year by the Mystery Writers of America. Named after American writer Edgar Allan Poe, a pioneer in the genre, the awards honor the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction, television, film, and theater published or produced in the previous year.

3. She had no formal schooling past the age of 13.

Perry was diagnosed with tuberculosis at the age of 6. She was so severely ill that she missed three years of schooling. Luckily, her mother taught her to read and write, so she was able to catch back up when she returned to school at age 10. However, at 13 she fell seriously ill again and left school permanently.

4. She’s lived in at least five different countries.

Perry was born in London, England in 1938. Her family moved around frequently in her younger years, and sent her to the Bahamas to live with a foster family in hopes that the warmer weather would be better for her illness. As a teen, she moved back with her family to a small island off the coast of New Zealand. In her 20s, Perry returned to England for a while, but eventually made her way to the United States for five years. She once again returned to England when her stepfather became seriously ill. She currently lives in Scotland.

Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme

5. Her real name is Juliet Hulme.

Perry changed her name after serving five years in prison for murder. At 15 years old she met Pauline Parker. The girls initially bonded over the debilitating illnesses they both had as children, but their relationship quickly became obsessive. When Perry’s family decided to send her to South Africa, the girls could not stand the thought of being separated. Perry’s parents offered to pay for Pauline to come along, but Pauline’s parents refused, thinking it would be best to separate the friends for a while. The girls decided that the only thing keeping them apart was Pauline’s mom Honorah. They believed the only way to stay together was to kill her. Pauline and Juliet planned an outing with Honorah under the guise of a goodbye for Juliet, who would be leaving soon for South Africa. The three of them went on a walk down a wooded path in Victoria Park when the girls bludgeoned Honorah to death with a brick. They were quickly caught, and were both sentenced to five years in separate prisons. The two have not spoken since.

Books by Anne Perry

     

5 Things You *Probably* Didn’t Know About Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath was an American novelist, poet, and short-story writer. She is known for her confessional poetry collections The Colossus and Other Poems and Ariel. Many of her previously unpublished works were published as The Collected Poems after her death in 1981. The collection won Plath the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry in 1982, making her the fourth to receive this honor posthumously.

Triple-Face Portrait by Sylvia Plath.

1. She also wrote children’s books.

Though none of them were published while Plath was alive, a small collection of children’s stories were found among her writings after she died. One, The-It-Doesn’t-Matter-Suit tells the story of 7 year-old Max Nix and his mustard yellow suit. Max was the youngest of seven brothers. Two of the brothers were named Otto and Emil- her father’s names.

2. She originally pursued Studio Art.

When Plath attended Smith College in 1950 she initially wanted to major in Studio Art. However, once her professors realized what a gifted writer she was, they encouraged her to pursue an English degree instead. In 2017, the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery mounted a retrospective of her work. It was on display until 2018.

A copy of The Bell Jar with the pseudonym Victoria Lucas.

3. The Bell Jar was initially published under a pseudonym.

When it was originally published in 1963, The Bell Jar was published under the name Victoria Lucas. It wasn’t until after Plath’s death that it was published under her real name. The Bell Jar is a semi-autobiographical novel portraying Plath’s struggles with mental illness. Colossus was the only large work published under Plath’s name while she was alive.

4. Her estranged husband received backlash following her death.

Plath was married to Ted Hughes for 6 years before Plath learned he was having an affair. They separated in July of 1962. Though they were not together, they were still legally married at the time of Plath’s death, meaning Hughes inherited the Plath estate and all of her written work. He has received backlash for burning Plath’s last journal and for losing a different journal and an unfinished novel. It is rumored that those writings contained allegations of abuse that Hughes did not want anyone to see. Some people were also angry that Plath’s tombstone read “Sylvia Plath Hughes” despite the fact that she and Hughes were separated when she died.

TW: Depression & Suicide

5. She struggled with severe mental health problems.

Plath suffered from severe depression all of her life.  In 1953, she attempted suicide for the first time. She spent the next six months in psychiatric care, receiving electric and insulin shock treatment. She attempted again in 1962 by driving her car into a river. By 1963, Plath was receiving daily visits from her doctor and had a live-in nurse to take care of both her and her children. On February 11, 1963, Plath’s nurse found her in her apartment dead of intentional carbon monoxide poisoning. She had the room sealed off with towels and cloths to protect her children. She was 30 years old.