Menna van Praag biography

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Menna van Praag

Menna van Praag

How to pronounce Menna van Praag: Men-nuh von Pr-ah-g

Menna van Praag Biography

Menna van Praag was born in Cambridge, England and studied Modern History at Oxford University. Her first novella - an autobiographical tale about a waitress who aspires to be a writer - Men, Money & Chocolate has been translated into 26 languages. Her first work of literary fiction, The House at the End of Hope Street, was inspired by an idea the author had to set up a house for female artists to give them a year to fulfill their artistic ambitions. Her next novel, The Dress Shop of Dreams, is set on the magical street of All Saints Passage where a scientist falls in love with a mysterious man who has a magical voice. These were followed by The Witches of Cambridge (2016) and The Lost Art of Letter Writing (2017). All Menna van Praag's novels, excepting Happier Than She's Ever Been, are set among the colleges, cafes and bookshops of Cambridge, England.

Menna van Praag's website

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Interview

Menna van Praag talks about her recent book, The House at the End of Hope Street, and the inspiration behind the book and its characters.

Was there a real Grace Abbott? If not, what inspired you to write a story about a sanctuary for women who have run out of hope?
I love Grace; I wish she was real, but as it is she's born out of love, desire, and imagination—inspired by several real people in my life. The story for The House at the End of Hope Street was in turn inspired by a dream I had to buy a big house and give grants to aspiring artists (writers/painters/singers/actors/etc.) to live there for one year and do nothing else but study and promote their craft. When I graduated from Oxford I waitressed full–time while writing at night, so I know how hard it is to fulfill an artistic passion while holding down a day job. Anyway, since I can't yet afford to make that a reality I created the fantasy version first.

Is there any significance to the novel's Cambridge setting?
I live in Cambridge and love it more than any place I've ever been. I knew the protagonist, Alba, was a brilliant academic so it absolutely made sense she'd be studying at Cambridge University. Everything else fell into place after that. Funnily enough, though I've lived here for thirty–five years, I didn't know there was a Hope Street until ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Menna van Praag at BookBrowse
The House at the End of Hope Street jacket
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