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As the daughter of award-winning South African poet and art academic, Leon Strydom, Anna Emm grew up surrounded by literature and theatre. She wrote her first book at the age of four, by dictating it to her kindergarten teacher. Soon after this, she taught herself to write, and from then on there was no stopping her.


While in primary school Anna wrote a series of action-packed stories to entertain her classmates. These stories were so popular that her eager readers often offered to do her homework for her so she could finish the latest chapters. As a teenager, when the effects of dysfunctional family life began to take its toll, Anna withdrew into her own imaginary world. She remembers bunking classes and hiding out in the school's bathroom so she could write.

After school Anna studied at the Boland College of Education and, at the age of 21, got her first teaching job in Cape Town. She taught Grade 2 classes for four years, but describes herself as a terrible teacher, because she'd spent most days secretly reading stories to the students instead of teaching them anything. But it was here that she could really see the value of stories because, on an almost exclusive diet of stories, not only did the children in her class excel in their academic work, but their self-confidence, vocabulary and creativity far surpassed that of their peers. They appeared happier and more relaxed, and they could show a level of empathy towards others that was far beyond their years. This was enough evidence to finally convince Anna to bid teaching goodbye and focus on her writing.

In 2006 she founded her own production company through which she would go on to write and produce more than 3000 original children’s stories, most of which were recorded and distributed in audio format. Many local celebrities lend their voices to Anna's children's stories over the years. In 2015, her company won the Afrigrowth Award for Small Business of the Year. By the time Anna closed the business in 2020, her children’s stories had become a household name in South Africa.


Anna drew a lot of interest on her social media pages for being very ‘hands on’ when it comes to research for her stories. In 2016 she went sky-diving to experience first hand what it must’ve felt like for one of her characters to jump out of a plane. (She swears she would never do this again!)

She also took up boxing lessons when she wrote a story about a boxer, and fell in love with the ring. She is still an avid boxer to this day and says it helps clear her head of character voices!

She also went for a fast lap or two around Killarney Racetrack while doing research for her book about a race car driver, and most recently she took up shooting lessons while writing her series of short detective novels.


Besides proving herself an industrious entrepreneur, Anna is also a prolific cross-genre writer. Up to date she has self-published 5 children's books, 17 young adult books, 2 collections of short stories, 21 romance novels, 4 suspense novels, and 38 novellas. She also wrote and produced 4 plays and 12 children's theatre plays.

Lately, Anna spends most of her time in London. After experimenting with genres in her earlier work and gaining experience as an author by writing mostly in Afrikaans, these days she prefers to write in English, gravitating more towards full-length novels that read like 'fairy tales for adults', often mixing ordinary life with fantasy elements, unusual twists and romance.


As a child her greatest fear was that she would stop writing. So she didn’t.

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