Born in Worcester, Ann was part of a famous acting family, the Kembles, with Sarah Siddons as her sister. She lived a colourful life which equipped her well for writing and speaking on women in society. She was first married at nineteen, to an actor called Curtis, whom she soon learned was a bigamist.
Ann had a life of mixed fortunes, and at one time attempted suicide in Westminster Abbey. Through poverty she earned her living as a "model" in a notorious London house of ill repute, known as a bagnio, now more commonly known as a brothel. It was in such a house that she was accidentally shot in the face. This was reported in local newspapers at the time, mentioning her "immoral avocation", but also her "proud and strong mind."
Her second marriage to Hatton offered her a period of greater stability and she moved with her husband to the United States, eventually returning to Swansea in 1800. She was widowed in 1806.
She wrote poetry, and fourteen novels featuring gothic themes for Minerva Press, using the pseudonym of Ann of Swansea, between 1810 and 1831. She lived life precariously, mixing with various classes and suffering times of poverty , this gave her a unique insight as a literate woman of those times, living through, as well as seeing, the social ills of the times.
Her work offers examples of popular genre of the time , gothic fiction, social satire and moral progress with stereotypical women as her characters, gothic nuns, haranguing wives, fussy mothers and bad tempered old maids.
Poems on miscellaneous subjects(1783)
Poetic Trifles (1811)
Sicilian Mysteries (1812)
Conviction, or is she innocent(1814)
Secret avengers (1815)
Chronicles of an illustrious house, or the peer, the lawyer and the hunchback(1816)
Gonzalo di Baldivia (1817)
Secrets in every mansion (1818)
Cesario Rosalba, or the oath of vengeance (1819)
Lovers and friends (1821)
Guilty; or not guilty; or, a lesson for husbands. (1822)
Woman’s a riddle (1824)
Deeds of an olden time (1826)
Uncle Peregrine’s heiress (1828)
Gerald Fitzgerald, an Irish tale (1831)
Contemporary reviews of the following works can be found online:-
Page created 18 February 2002 and last updated 28 October 2002
For your literary enquiries and comments please see the Who to contact page.
Please read the general terms and conditions and about accessibility on this site, including the use of the UK government accesskeys system.