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Menna van Praag

Menna van Praag is a British author renowned for her magical realism novels and fantasy trilogy. Her Men, Money & Chocolate (2008) was translated into 26 languages.

Menna van Praag was born in Cambridge, England. She earned a BA in Modern History from Balliol College at Oxford University.

Her first published work was Men, Money & Chocolate, a novella drawing from autobiographical elements. This book, which explores the aspirations of a waitress who dreams of becoming a writer, has been translated into 26 languages.

Following this, Menna ventured into literary fiction with The House at the End of Hope Street, inspired by her dream of creating a sanctuary for female artists.

Her literary influences range from magical realism giants like Alice Hoffman to other beloved authors such as Isabelle Allende, Laura Esquivel, and Erica Bauermeister.

Her subsequent novels, including The Dress Shop of Dreams, The Witches of Cambridge, and The Lost Art of Letter Writing, continue to enchant readers with their blend of magic and reality, all set against the backdrop of Cambridge’s storied colleges and quaint cafes. Her work is distinguished by its deep ties to Cambridge, a city she adores and where she has lived for over three decades.

Expanding her literary repertoire, Menna introduced readers to her first fantasy trilogy, The Sisters Grimm, Night of Demons and Saints, and Child of Earth and Sky, published between 2020 and 2023. These works mark a significant shift towards fantasy, yet they retain the magical elements that fans of van Praag have come to love. Currently, she is exploring new horizons by writing speculative fiction.

Beyond her writing, Menna is deeply involved in the academic world. She was a Royal Literary Fellow from 2022 to 2023 and is an integral part of the University of Cambridge's Institute of Continuing Education. While at Cambridge University, she supervises both Master's students and Certificate students in the MSt in Creative Writing program.

Menna van Praag also teaches The History of the Novel for the MA in Creative Writing at ARU and was shortlisted for the "Masters Teacher of the Year 2022."

Photo Credit: Rafal Lapszanski @lapszanskirafal

Quotes

Isahas quoted2 years ago
The shop is tucked down a little side street, missed by most people, except those few seeking it out or accidentally stumbling upon it on their way to somewhere else entirely. The shop has a little green door
Isahas quoted2 years ago
Clara wants those who have wandered away from the crowds, those who are feeling distracted and disconnected, those with bruised hearts, those who don’t know how to undo the past and soothe their pain, those who doubt it’s even possible.
Until, that is, they wander along the tiny street and come upon the tiny shop. In one of its tiny windows is tucked a tiny note, written in tiny, but elegant, handwriting, inviting them to venture inside and:
Learn the lost art of letter writing …
Isahas quoted2 years ago
Dark oak cabinets contain writing papers in a thousand different designs: papers lined with silver leaf, embedded with roses and violets, papers studded with glittering foil stars, or painted with watercolour sunflowers – each unique and furnished with matching envelopes.
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