Interview with Anne Kidd

What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Writing The Meaning Of Home became quite a passion for me. Writing became my creative outlet and helped me make sense of the work that I was doing with those experiencing a life of homelessness. The writing helped me question my own belief system and what is really important in life. The joy was and still is in the creative process and the freedom of following my thoughts through the actual writing process. The joy is in writing about the small things that take my eye in the hope that my writing might also interest or resonate with others. Writing is my quiet time and a time of deep reflection and I like that.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I worked as a case manager in a program to assist long term homeless people access safe, stable, affordable and long term housing. I learnt how difficult this can be as it is not an immediate thing that just happens. Firstly there is a shortage of good local community, social housing and public housing. There are long waiting lists. When housing does eventually become available it might not be in a person's area of choice and near their social networks. Secondly, stable housing also does not immediately fix lots of other problems long term homeless often struggle to overcome due to their circumstances. So my aim in writing this book was to show how difficult life can be for some people who have never had stability in their lives due to early childhood trauma, ongoing mental health issues, drug and alcohol issues, fractured family relationships and little support. Those experiencing a life of homelessness are also often misunderstood and judged. There are many myths associated with homelessness and I wanted to dispel those myths. It can be difficult to gain acceptance and to be socially included. I wanted to shed light on their stories and struggles to show the importance of what home means and that home in fact means different things to different people. It is not just a roof over your head: it can and does mean more than this.
What five books have had the most impact on you and why?
The Diary of A Young Girl by Anne Frank. I read this when I was the same age as when Anne wrote it. I was profoundly moved when I later visited the house in Amsterdam and saw the annexe where the families were kept hidden for the 2 years and 1 month. The book had such an impact when I learnt what happened to Anne and her family.
The Well by Elizabeth Jolly. I loved the characters she created in this book and the imagery. It was an unsetting book on one level. I wrote to Elizabeth Jolly when I studied this book and she wrote back to me explaining a little bit about the book. So I really cherish this book for her doing that.
Albert Speer: His Battle With The Truth by Gitta Sereny. Wow what a book. She was really able to get into Albert Speer's psyche. The book was intriguing from this perspective as Sereny tried to get to the truth of exactly what Speer knew about Hitler and the concentration camps.
A Mother's Disgrace by Robert Dessaix. I love anything written by Robert Dessaix but this book especially because it is about search for identity and finding the truth of his adoption and meeting his mother. I have seen Robert Dessaix in person twice now at book festivals and he is such an interesting man. When I read some of his latest works such as What Days Are For and As I was Saying it is like he is in the other room having a conversation with you.
The Arrogance of Power The Secret World of Richard Nixon by Anthony Summers. I love books that are well researched and this is one of those books, like Sereny's.
What are you working on next?
I visited Ypres in Belgium in 2015 to pay my respects to my maternal great uncle who was killed in the First World War. My second book is about that trip to visit his war grave and certain people who I met along the way who made it more memorable. It is about the importance of remembering and honouring. It has developed to include my maternal grandfather's story and the circumstances of how he ended up going to Nauru and working with the British Phosphate Commission and then the evacuation of the island at the outbreak of the Second World War. The idea to write about the importance of remembering was initially conceived during one of my many walks in Melbourne where I live. I've always been intrigued by the 'in memory' plaques on garden seats and benches in some of Melbourne's parks and gardens. It is a wonderful way to honour someone's life and got me thinking about the importance of remembering and the importance of knowing our ancestors stories and how this helps in making sense of who we are.
Published 2018-03-23.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Meaning of Home- Voices from the Streets
Price: Free! Words: 66,800. Language: English. Published: May 6, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » Social Science » Social Work
This book explores the notion and meaning of home from various perspectives. It is about what it is like to live and experience a life of homelessness in Melbourne. Despite the awful things that happen in the lives of the nine people; the violence and drug use and the toughness of life on the streets, it is full of hope.