Weekly Chats: Anna Wilson with Isabel Losada

Today we are joined by two brilliant writers, Anna Wilson & Isabel Losada to share Anna’s book ‘A Place For Everything’. This is a moving, incredible story of her mother’s autism diagnosis at age 72 & her family’s collective experience coming to terms with their past. Anna’s story is fascinating & her family’s story of deep compassion & forgiveness is helping people around the world with similar experiences. This is a colourful chat between two kindred spirits that covers the joys of being writers, autism, grief, forgiveness, environmentalism & the many different family dynamics that exist. Enjoy! 

What’s in this chat:

  • Narrative nonfiction, autobiographies & memoirs: how to categorise genres & the challenges as a writer within these mediums.
  • Anna Wilson on her experience growing up with a mother with autism & the relationship with her family during her childhood. Anna’s mother was diagnosed with autism at age 72 & Anna’s experience with her family was to reflect on this – how did it begin, was it always there? 
  • Compassion, forgiveness & understanding autism for relatives.
  • “They weren’t just angry or difficult. A lot of the time autism presents itself in quite aggressive ways because the person with autism is dealing with so much anxiety & so much overload in their life. They get sensory overload, they find it very difficult to cope with lots of noise, lots of excitement. So if you’re a parent bringing up young children & you’ve got chaos all around you: mess & noise & disruptions & unpredictable behaviour, if you’re autistic your reaction may well be to explode because you can’t really cope with it.” says Anna. 
  • Coping mechanisms for parents with autism. 
  • Isabel on the different ways we have come to terms with parents that we couldn’t understand in the past & the ability to offer forgiveness.
  • Anna on her grandmother as the ‘rock’ that held together the family & the feeling that she wanted to ‘divorce’ her mother. 
  • “There were always moments of light with Mum.” says Anna with hugs, warmth & affection.  “She’d have these full on rages & it was always like hugs & ‘I love you’”.
  • Anna on “instinctively reaching for her notebook” as a way to write things down, turn to her diary & download her thoughts during her childhood struggles. 
  • “If you keep a diary one day, your diary will keep you.” says Isabel.
  • Writing about grief, death & fact checking on the correct bottle of wine.
  • The similarities between Anna Wilson & Isabel Losada’s books; A Place For Everything & The Joyful Environmentalist.
  • Anna’s children books: The Girl Guide Handbook meets the Joyful Environmentalist plus lovely stories of sea creatures & humans. 
  • What’s next for Anna Wilson… 
  • Winning Woman’s Hour & the response from A Place For Everything. It was “overwhelming” says Anna.

Buy A Place For Everything from your local Bookseller:

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