About the author:
Anstey Harris teaches creative writing for Canterbury Christ Church University and in the community with her own company, Writing Matters. She has been featured in various literary magazines and anthologies, been shortlisted for many prizes, and won the H G Wells Short Story Award. Anstey lives in Kent, UK and is the mother of the singer-songwriter Lucy Spraggan.
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C S Lewis
This book is a real family favourite in our house: I read it my children when they were very young and then we had it on a cassette tape that accompanied us on many a journey. Eustace Scrubb’s transformation from a boy who ‘almost deserved’ his name to a loyal and compassionate friend shows us that, sometimes, it just takes the right people to come along and show you how to be as brave as a mouse.
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hussani
The story of Amir and Hassan knocked people sideways when it was published in 2003. We read it as a family – my children were teenagers then – and it became our bible of friendship and redemption. An absolute modern classic.
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk-Kidd
I wanted to add this one because it is so very much a novel about women. It is about strength, truth, and the power of standing together: all themes that I wanted to bring into my own novel. The Secret Life of Bees is a novel for, by, and about, women that has something so very important to say.
The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman
I love the premise of this feel-good and charming book. Brett’s adult self has forgotten about a ‘bucket list’ she wrote when she was 14 until her mother, in unusual circumstances, challenges her to complete it. I love this because my 14-year-old self would have written on that list: have children, get dogs, write books. I am a very lucky person.
The Dreamers by Karen Walker Thompson
This novel is utterly riveting on so many levels. It is profound and moving about the possibilities contained within us all and, most crucially, about the importance of dreaming. A must-read.