Anna was born in England and began her writing career scribbling, in non-erasable pen, on the bathroom walls at home. Even at that age, she was supporting others’ creativity – her parents promptly took out their paint cans and began painting on the walls. They were obviously deeply moved by the experience – at least she assumes that’s why they were crying.
At seven, she moved to Australia, where she spent her childhood and early adulthood. She received a first-class honours degree in English from the University of Queensland before moving back to England. She later moved to Canada, where she received her PhD in English from the University of Toronto, specializing in narrative and story-telling. She now lives in Vancouver. All of this migration has wreaked havoc with her accent.
“Anna, you write like an angel!”
Professor Linda Hutcheon. University of Toronto
Anna became a published writer at the age of 9 in a school text book, with a short article about the mythical “bunyip”. At 13, she received her first commission and was paid the grand amount of $3.80 by a friend to write a short play for a local Girl Guide group. At 14, she was one of the youngest writers chosen to attend the Australian National Playwright’s Centre Young Playwrights Studio, where she workshopped her first real play.
Over the ensuing years, she won several awards for her drama, fiction and non-fiction, including winning both first and second place in the same year in the national Adele Shelton Smith Award for emerging writers, and her work received performances and public workshops. In her early twenties, she was granted full writer membership of the Fellowship of Australian Writers. She was also chosen to represent Australia at World Interplay – the international festival for young writers – and was awarded a Professional Development Scholarship with the Queensland Theatre Company.
Although Anna no longer writes for stage, her writing interests continue to be broad. She has published fiction, non-fiction, essays, poetry, newspaper articles and academic articles, as well as a wide variety of professional and business matierlas, and is the co-author of The Study Abroad Handbook, which was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2007. (Her editor has described her as a “model author”.) She has written children’s picture books, and a novel, The Last Note. She is currently working on her second novel, called The Illusion Dwellers: A Love Story and a narrative non-fiction work, called The Pragmatic Artist: Creativity for Grown Ups (more…).
"You've definitely got power in your pen...
you are no mean writer...”
Timothy Daly, Australian National Playwrights' Centre
Professionally, she has worked with words for over a decade, in such jobs as freelance language consultant and editor for the University of Hong Kong, copyeditor for an international journal, freelance reader and copyeditor for publishers such as the University of Queensland Press and Penguin Press, interpretive writer for a museum design firm, information officer for the Queensland Department of Primary Industries, freelance video and multimedia script writer, freelance researcher, information coordinator for a flight attendant training program, university instructor, and communications specialist for a non-profit organization in the high-tech sector. She has also worked as a ghost writer for a diverse range of clients. Other jobs have included selling donuts, working in a book shop, data entry, and call centre work, as well as various office temp jobs. She is currently a Senior Writer at the University of British Columbia.
“Anna…has always struck me as a confident, mature
and highly committed young writer… She impresses as
a young woman who has exceptional writing skills
as well as…ambition and determination."
Adrian Peniston-Bird, President, Fellowship of Australian Writers
In addition to her own writing, Anna also has nurtured a lifelong interest in the creative process. Her own experiences in dance, music and theatre, as well as hundreds of conversations with other creative professionals ranging from engineers to designers, theatre technicians to bloggers, led her, in 2006, to develop a series of workshops on creativity and balancing creativity with the demands of daily life. The first of these was “Protecting Your Creativity” at the Toronto Women’s Bookstore, which sold out almost immediately. This momentum continued, with workshops at the University of Toronto and to a variety of special interest groups in Vancouver. She has also written over fifty essays on this topic. Currently, she keeps a blog called The Pragmatic Artist (www.annalidstone.tumblr.com) which explores the challenges – and joys – of juggling creative practice with bills, parenting, jobs and responsibilities. She is also working on a book by the same name.
Anna is also a passionate and experienced speaker. She has won awards for her public speaking and has given dozens of talks, presentations, lectures and workshops on a range of topics, from literature to creativity to research skills to contemporary issues.
"an emerging writer who will be
worth following in the future"
Reis Porter, Artistic Advisory Group, Melbourne Workers Theatre
When she is not writing and talking to people about their own creative projects, Anna can be found playing music and singing, swimming, walking along Vancouver’s seawall, travelling, curling up with a good book, having good conversations with friends, and spending time with her partner and daughter.
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