Metanoia: A Memoir of a Body, Born Again
Shortlisted for 2020 Australian Christian Book of the Year A memoir of a body, born again. Perhaps we have done to our bodies what we have so long done to God? We have let vessels of peace...
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Shortlisted for 2020 Australian Christian Book of the Year
A memoir of a body, born again.
Perhaps we have done to our bodies what we have so long done to God?
We have let vessels of peace be used as rubbish bins, weapons and punching bags.
We have asked them to conform to our image. The image we find the most desirable.
We have vanquished their significance, until finally, they have no power at all.
By the age of 23, Anna McGahan was wrestling with the rest of the world for ownership of her femininity, sexuality and physicality.
As a young actor suddenly thrust into the spotlight as a poster girl for sexual liberation - intent on exploring New Age spirituality, the next relationship and the wildest high - her path continuously pointed her to chaos, consumption and isolation.
Until she met God.
In this memoir, Anna shares the story of reconciling with her body, mapping its journey from a cheapened product in a marketplace to a vessel of astonishing worth.
This is a deeply personal and radical story, of a body rescued, redeemed and set free. Of holy pain and undeserved healing. Of a life completely and irrevocably changed.
Contains strong themes.
"I consumed this book in about two sittings. It's harrowing, confronting, beautiful, honest, wild, and imaginative. Read it if you are interested in art, acting, relationships, the spiritual life, sexuality, God, healing from self-hatred, or just basically humans and what it means to be one. Read it because this memoir introduces one of Australia's most original and astonishing voices.
Anna's memoir is beautifully and artfully structured around motifs and metaphors of the body, using scripturally informed language that is startling in this context. It's a book about hurting and healing, and she doesn't hold back.
I have a few favourites when it comes to conversion/spiritual memoirs. Anna's book reminds me of how I felt reading Lauren Winner's "Girl Meets God" - plunged into a very different kind of life and way of meeting Jesus, and deeply touched by it. It also has parallels with Rosaria Butterfield's "Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert", because I found it challenging and I think it will change how I talk to others about faith, and more importantly how I listen.
Warning: Keep this one on your top shelf if you have kids around, and be aware it deals honestly and heartbreakingly with eating disorders and self-harm, and the emotional and physical impact of casual sex." - Goodreads Review
"I ate this beautiful book, it was delicious. I didn't realise how hungry I was. Anna McGahan writes gracefully and reflectively, with a rare sincerity. She holds our hand as she takes us on her journey, and it is, deeply, a heroine's journey. We need more stories like hers; honest, raw, naive in its sincerity. She reaches out to the world with an open palm and an offering." - Goodreads Review
Anna is a professional actor and writer, based in Melbourne. She is primarily employed in Australian television (Underbelly: Razor, House Husbands, Anzac Girls, The Dr Blake Mysteries, Picnic at Hanging Rock), film (Project Eden, 100 Bloody Acres) and theatre (The Effect - Sydney Theatre Company). Anna was awarded the Heath Ledger Scholarship in 2012 and the Inside Film 'Out of the Box' Award, and was nominated for two Logies in 2012 and the Australian Directors Guild award for 'Best Actress' in 2013.
As a writer, she focuses on fictional drama for stage and screen, and narrative non-fiction literature. She received the Queensland Young Playwright's Award in 2008 and 2009, was short-listed for the Queensland Premier's Drama Award in 2010, and The Saturday Paper's national essay award 'The Horne Prize' in 2016. In 2016/2017 she co-wrote and toured two sold-out seasons of the parabolic theatre piece 'The People of the Sun', in partnership with SPARC and The Justice Conference.
Anna became a Christian in 2012, after being raised without faith. She has since lived, studied and worked both nationally and internationally, stretching and growing in diverse Christian communities. In 2015 she founded a virtual and physical space to safely express and explore the intersection of creativity and spirituality, called 'The Fireplace'. She now leads over 1200 artists that connect online and also meet up nationally, in monthly gatherings, to discuss faith in Jesus.
Anna is especially passionate about leading young women, and nurturing their relationships with their own bodies, hearts and minds.