Annabel Abbs

ANNABEL ABBS has a degree in English and History from the University of East Anglia and a MA in Marketing from the University of Kingston. After fifteen years in marketing and advertising, she sold her business to focus on her family and her writing. She’s been longlisted, shortlisted and taken first prize in several writing competitions including the Spotlight First Novel Award 2015, the Impress Prize for New Writers, the Caledonia Novel Award 2014, the Chapter One Novel Award 2013, and various short story awards. She runs a successful blog about food and ageing which was featured in the Sunday Telegraph (www.kaleandcocoa). Annabel grew up in Bristol, Sussex and Wales and now lives in London with her husband and four children. The Joyce Girl is her first novel.



The Joyce Girl

First Prize The Spotlight First Novel Competition 2015
Winner The Impress Prize for New Writers 2015
Shortlisted The Chapter One Novel Award 2013
Longlisted The Bath Novel Award 2015
Longlisted The Caledonia Novel Award 2014

Lucia Joyce’s battle for love, for a life as a dancer and for liberation from the shadow of her father. Set in Paris, Zurich and London, The Joyce Girl tells the fictionalised story of Lucia, daughter of literary giant, James Joyce.

Paris 1928. Talented and ambitious, Lucia is making a name for herself as a dancer, training with many famous dancers of her day. But her family resents her career and she begins to see marriage as her only chance of freedom. She falls in love with Samuel Beckett, a daily visitor to her home where he works for her father. She believes her destiny is to marry Beckett but he cruelly deceives her and is subsequently banned from the Joyce home. Seeking distraction, Lucia takes private drawing classes with Alexander Calder, the celebrated American sculptor, and has a passionate affair with him, before he too disappears from her life.

Showing early signs of distress, Lucia is then devastated to discover her parents have never married – and she’s a bastard. She winds down her stage-dancing career, seeing her new role as muse to her father as he writes Finnegans Wake. But this role cannot satisfy her need to dance and for love. Crushed between her own ambitions and desires, and her parents’ needs and envy, she begins to struggle, emotionally and mentally. When Lucia is sent by her father to take ‘the talking cure’ with Dr Jung, a horrific childhood memory is revealed.

The Joyce Girl explores the anguish of thwarted ambition and love, and the damage wrought by the nurturing but ultimate destructive love of a parent.

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