Anna Johnson

Research project: Motherhood: A Ghost Story in Bits

Abstract

In February 2016 I began to write about my experience of early motherhood; an experience of such unexpected, powerful, immersive strangeness that I needed to find some way of placing it at a little distance, of beginning to analyse it or maybe just trace it, through writing. This writing has grown into a full-blown life-writing practice, centred on a recurring connection between my experience of motherhood and ideas of haunting, of presence and absence and repetition (daily and generational). This practice makes up the creative-writing side of my PhD.

The critical element of this PhD looks at how, through theories of the spectral, intersectionality, queerness, feminism, failure and anecdote, amongst others, we might aspire to transform and re-possess language in an attempt to express the ineffable. There is failure inherent in this project, but I hope a valuable, generative kind of failure.

Biography

I live/work in London and am studying for a PhD in Creative Writing here at Kingston University.

Recent publications/events:

2021: An Intersection of Motherhood and Chronic Illness, chapter in From Band-Aids to Scalpels: Motherhood Experiences in/of Medicine, Demeter Press

2021: Cascading Transitions: Becoming a Writer and Engaging with Neurodiversity in Response to Motherhood, chapter in Women in Transition: Crossing Boundaries, Crossing Borders, Routledge

2021: Race/Gender Matters Research Group Event: ‘Failure and Care' with Lisa Baraitser, Kingston

2020: I so wanted to ask you… video piece, Writers' Centre Kingston

2019: Illness/Parenting/Writing, performance, Writers' Centre Kingston

2019: The Role of ‘Place' in My Creative Life-Writing Practice, talk, Genos/Matter/Theory Conference, Kingston

2018: Cascading Transitions: Becoming a Writer and Engaging with Neurodiversity in Response to Motherhood, talk, Women in Transition Conference, Kings and Oxford

2018: Objects of a Maternal Haunting, chapter in Everyday World-Making: Towards an Understanding of Affect and Mothering, Demeter Press

Areas of research interest

  • Life-writing
  • Motherhood
  • Haunting
  • Intersectionality
  • Chronic illness
  • Queer studies
  • Feminism
  • Neurodiversity
  • Literature
  • Nature writing

Qualifications

  • MA Fine Art, Central Saint Martins
  • BA Hons History and Theory of Art, University of Kent

Publications

2021: An Intersection of Motherhood and Chronic Illness, chapter in From Band-Aids to Scalpels: Motherhood Experiences in/of Medicine, Demeter Press

2021: Cascading Transitions: Becoming a Writer and Engaging with Neurodiversity in Response to Motherhood, chapter in Women in Transition: Crossing Boundaries, Crossing Borders, Routledge

2018: Objects of a Maternal Haunting, chapter in Everyday World-Making: Towards an Understanding of Affect and Mothering, Demeter Press

2016: Article for Mamsie (Mapping Maternal Subjectivities Identities and Ethics) blog, http://mamsie.org/2016/06/29/a-maternal-haunting/

Conference papers

2019: Place in a Temporal Haunting of Motherhood, Genos/Matter/Theory Conference, Kingston University

2018: Cascading Transitions, Women in Transition Conference, Kings and Oxford Universities