Anne Aylor is a professional writer and teacher. She has had short stories and poems published by the Arts Council of Great Britain, The Literary Review, London Magazine, Fiction Magazine, Stand Magazine and broadcast on BBC Radios 3 and 4. In 2008 her short story, "The Speed of Dark", was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize, the biggest open creative writing competition in the English language. One of her stories was shortlisted for the 2011 Fish Short Story Prize. Anne received the Historical Novel Society International Short Story Award 2014. Her winning story, “The House of Wild Beasts", was adapted from a novel-in-progress about the Spanish Civil War. In 2015 she was longlisted for the Fish Short Story Prize. In 2016 her short story "Feeding Time" won the Unbound Short Story Prize.
No Angel Hotel, her first novel, was published in the UK by HarperCollins and Grafton Book and by St Martin’s Press, New York (US title: Angel Hotel). For an archive review of Angel Hotel in the Pittsburgh Press, click here. She has completed her second novel, The Double Happiness Company, which was published in 2011 by BareBone Books. She is curently working on her third and fourth novels (working titles: The Speed of Dark and The Witness from Salamanca).
She has won or been a runner-up in a number of competitions, including the BBC Radio 3 Short Story Competition, Stand Magazine Short Story Competition, the Dixon Ward Short Story Competition and the 2005 Good Houskeeping Short Story Competition, judges: Alexander McCall Smith, Julie Meyerson, Lindsay Nicholson, Ali Gunn (Curtis Brown) and Kate Elton (Editor-in-Chief, Random House). In 2008 her short story, "The Speed of Dark", was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize.
Her stage play, Children of the Dust, won the 1987 International Playwriting Festival competition and was co-produced by the Soho Theatre and the Theatre Warehouse, Croydon. Her short play, The M & M Café was commissioned and published by the Oxford University Press. Her stage play, Happiness Is North of Here, had a rehearsed reading at the Gate Theatre, London.
The Trainer, a play by David Wilson and Anne Aylor, had a rehearsed reading at Oxford House in March 2009 with Tim Pigott-Smith. It was later performed in Two Plays for Gaza at the Hackney Empire, London, in May 2009 along with Caryl Churchill's Seven Jewish Children. This bridge-building evening for peace in the Middle East was a benefit in aid of the Gaza Music School and starred Corin Redgrave, Roger Lloyd Pack, Jana Zeineddine and Paul Herzberg. For Guy Smallman's slideshow of The Trainer, click here.
Anne was a shortlist judge in the 2007 Wimbledon Book Fest (Sandi Toksvig Writing Challenge) and has given teleseminars and weekend courses at Alternatives, St James Church, Piccadilly. in 2010 she was asked to lead a writing masterclass at the Redbridge Book and Media Festival. She taught playwriting at the City Lit, London, and has taught at Morley College for over twenty years. She loves to write because it doesn’t involve high maths or high heels.
WHAT PEOPLE SAY ABOUT ANNE'S LATEST BOOK . . .
‘A brilliant novel. I couldn’t put it down. A remarkable insight into the relationships between women and the novel captures perfectly some of the underlying reasons for conflicts between mothers and daughters. Anne Aylor creates an extraordinary “monster mother” and slowly reveals her true nature. The novel is a warning to all women about how easy it is to trust the wrong women in your life. For men, it will be a revelation about how women’s lives can be dominated by their image of their bodies. But in the end it is a great novel about love.‘ Dorothy Byrne, Head of News & Current Affairs, Channel 4 TV
‘Anne’s writing demonstrates her powers of observation. Dialogue throughout is pitch perfect, and gives Anne some of her pithy chapter headings: “Weirdnik in a tutu”, “Fatso goes Nutzoid”. A keen eye selected the well-chosen period detail: Tangee lipstick, beaded curtains, black-bottom pie, the Frontier coffee shop full of stuffed animals, a velvet picture of Jackie O. All in all, this book is a delight. Read, and enjoy.’
Annemarie Neary, author of Siren and Bridport Prize winner
'The story can’t fail to draw people in. I wish you and the book every possible success. Black Swan, move out of the way – you’re going to be surpassed!‘ Wendy Perriam, author of Broken Places
'Have read The Double Happiness Company and, much to my surprise and delight (as a confirmed anglophile balletphobe), loved it. My only worry that I wanted to find out what happened next to the Rivers family, so am looking forward to Volume 2.' Chris Brooker
REVIEWS OF NO ANGEL HOTEL
‘Anne Aylor’s Angel Hotel was published in Great Britain as No Angel Hotel. Make of that what you will, but the first novel is a finely crafted and very moving exploration of the youthful pain and the lasting passion of love.
Writing in prose that is sometimes breathless, sometimes poised and straining for rationality, Aylor tells the tale of young Elkie, a working-class girl from Northern Ireland, and her affair with a sophisticated intellectual, Ivan, “like Count Vronsky with dark hair”. At the beginning, Ivan’s interest is casual and self-indulgent, but Elkie, misunderstanding and faithful, in love, wants to go off with him. In a moment of frustration, Ivan agrees. What follows is a series of drab rented rooms, brief visits, a fading hope of marriage, a dozen years of nothing but occasional postcards, and then, in the midst of new maturity, a final, fateful postcard. Aylor’s sensitive writing, in all it moods, makes this otherwise ordinary love story into a quiet reflection on the fragility of human feelings, a reflection that almost inevitably, she suggests, leaves us with a lump in the throat.’
Washington Post Book World
‘The multi-talented Anne Aylor (she is also a professional dancer) has produced a first novel, No Angel Hotel, of spellbinding intensity. It records the obsessive love of a beautiful but naive Irish village girl for the worldly heir to the surrounding estate. He takes her to London. In a squalid boarding-house her days narrow to encompass only his less and less frequent visits. Finally he leaves, though for 13 years postcards arrive for her waiting still at the same address. Written in brief, ephemeral passages as if a more prolonged focus would scorch the page, this is an exhilarating first novel.’
Several of Anne's stories have been read on BBC Radio. Click on these embedded players to hear them.
Chapter 1 of Anne's first novel, No Angel Hotel
BBC Radio 3 broadcast of a short story taken from her second novel, The Double Happiness Company. The genesis of this story is the topic of a Jan 2015 blog post. To read a PDF of the story, click here.
Chapter 4 of The Double Happiness Company, a flashback to the protagonist's youth
Chapter 1 of The Double Happiness Company. A daughter's long-awaited Christmas homecoming to New Mexico stirs up an estranged family who don't know how to express their love.
The story of how a bigoted old hunter and a doctoral student in anthropology manage to find common ground.
A down-trodden London secretary finally asserts herself with the boss who has bullied her.
An awarding-winning BBC Radio 3 story of a woman who goes to an off-season seaside town in Normandy to meet the lover who once jilted her. Read by RSC actress Patience Collier
An old Ziegfeld Follies girl returns to the haunted abandoned theatre in New York City where she performed in the Roaring Twenties to reflect on her life.