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NewSouth acquires world rights to How to Knit a Human by Anna Jacobson

Anna Jacobson
Photo: Peter Wilson

NewSouth Publishing has acquired world rights to Anna Jacobson’s lyrical memoir How to Knit a Human.

How to Knit a Human is Jacobson’s quest to find herself and her memory after experiencing psychosis in 2011, at the age of twenty-three.

Jacobson writes about the splintering of memory from psychosis and Electroconvulsive therapy that she experienced as an involuntary patient in 2011. She awakens in hospital, greeted by nurses and patients she doesn’t recognise, but who address her with familiarity. Writing against the void – how do you write a memoir without memories? – she untangles the clues.

Tension builds as these clues are revealed to the reader from the three nonlinear woven selves of Jacobson’s life – ‘before’, ‘after’ and ‘Cardea’ (written in third person and named after the Goddess of the Hinge).

I wrote this book not just to piece myself together, but for other psychiatric survivors wanting to feel less alone in their experiences,’

Anna Jacobson

‘With a poet’s sensibility, Anna Jacobson’s beautifully woven memoir is a sharp insight into complex mental health diagnoses and its treatment in our healthcare system. Yet this is also a story of the joys of French-horn playing, photo-taking and old friends, as memories return and writing is an act of discovering a life once lived, and a life still to come’ says NewSouth publisher Harriet McInerney.

Through knitting and assemblage, weaving experiences around the gaps of memories that are not accessible, the memory barriers begin to crumble. Over time Jacobson continues to reclaim agency of her body and mind from the mental health ‘care’ system, writing and creating art on her own terms.

This book is a reclamation of memory and self.

How to Knit a Human by Anna Jacobson will be published in April 2024.

About the Author

ANNA JACOBSON is an award-winning writer and artist from Meanjin (Brisbane). Her poetry collection Amnesia Findings (UQP) won the 2018 Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize. Anna’s second illustrated poetry collection, Anxious in a Sweet Store was published with Upswell in 2023. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Creative Writing from the Queensland University of Technology.