ANNE BILLSON is a film critic, novelist, photographer and screenwriter whose work has been widely published. She has lived in London, Tokyo, Cambridge, Paris and Croydon, and now lives in Belgium.
Her books include SUCKERS (an upwardly mobile vampire novel described by Christopher Fowler in Time Out as “dark, sharp, chic and very funny”), STIFF LIPS (a Notting Hill ghost story), THE EX (a supernatural detective story), THE COMING THING (“Imagine if Clive Barker had made NOTTING HILL, or if you threw both ROSEMARY’S BABY and BRIDGET JONES’ BABY into a literary playpen!”), THE HALF MAN, BLOOD PEARL (first part in a projected Young Adult trilogy) several works of non-fiction, including THE THING, a BFI monograph about John Carpenter’s film; LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, from Auteur Publishing, about Tomas Alfredson’s film of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novel of the same name; BILLSON FILM DATABASE, a collection of more than 4000 reviews; and CATS ON FILM, the definitive work of feline film scholarship and “possibly the greatest book ever.”
In 1993 she was named one of Granta’s “Best Young British Novelists”. In 2015, she was chosen by the BFI as one of “25 Female Film Critics Worth Celebrating.” Her short story, I Remember Nothing, was published in We Were Strangers: Stories Inspired by Unknown Pleasures (Confingo, 2018) edited by Richard Hirst, and was included in The Best Horror of the Year: Volume Eleven (Night Shade Books, 2019) edited by Ellen Datlow.
She has written about many different subjects, but chiefly about films, for more publications than she cares to remember, and has been a film critic for the Sunday Correspondent, Today, Time Out, Tatler, New Statesman & Society and, for most of the 1990s, the Sunday Telegraph. She is currently working as a freelance journalist and screenwriter, contributing regularly to The Guardian, and as a member of the programming team for Offscreen Film Festival in Brussels.
In 2012 she wrote Case Study: Richard Gill, a segment for the portmanteau play The Hallowe’en Sessions, directed by Sean Hogan and staged at the Leicester Square Theatre in London’s West End.
ANNE BILLSON’S CV
BORN Southport 1954. Grew up in Exeter and Croydon. BA in Graphic Design, Central School of Art & Design, London (1973-76)
JOBS INCLUDE shoeshop asistant, bookshop assistant, cakeshop assistant, Inland Revenue clerk, sign-writer, window dresser, secretary, cookery-book illustrator, English teacher, lyric-writer for Japanese pop-singers, recording voice for a children’s audio-book about farmyard animals, cinema cashier, photographer, film stills photographer, cinema listings compiler, translator (French into English), screenwriter, script doctor.
Also once appeared as a Dutch girl in a Japanese TV commercial starring a famous sumo wrestler.
PHOTOGRAPHS PUBLISHED in Time Out, Event, Illustrated London News, Mode et Mode, Fashion News, Men Only, Tatler, GQ, Options, Elle, Vogue, Daily Express, Soho Weekly News etc
PHOTOGRAPHIC EXHIBITIONS: East/West (Tokyo) 1989; Electric Cinema (London) 1981; Soho Poly Theatre (London) 1981
WRITING PUBLISHED in Sunday Telegraph, Daily Telegraph, Monthly Film Bulletin, Sight & Sound, The Erotic Review, GQ, Time Out, Event, City Limits, The Times, Vogue, Elle, Harpers & Queen, Esquire, Just Seventeen, Sky, Sunday Correspondent, Cosmopolitan, The Guardian, The Independent, The Observer, The Sunday Times, The Financial Times, Radio Times, Playbirds, Boy Zone, Fashion News etc and online at The Guardian, The Telegraph, theartsdesk.com, firstpost.com, high50.com, trailersfromhell.com etc
FILM CRITIC for Today (1986); the Sunday Correspondent (1989-90); Tatler (1989-90); New Statesman & Society (1991-92); the Sunday Telegraph (1992-2001)
SOME OF ANNE BILLSON’S BOOKS
I made some arty picture books to give to friends who came all the way to Brussels for my 60th birthday party. Collector’s Items! Also hideously expensive, but you might like to take a look at the free previews. Click on the image below to be whisked, as if by magic, to my Blurb bookstore.
This is my author page at amazon.co.uk, where you can download many of my books for Kindle – and even buy some of them in ye olde printed format. Please click on the image to be taken there. (My books are also available from all the other amazons worldwide.)
My film writing can also be downloaded in all formats (including epub, Mobi and pdf) from smashwords.com. This is my Smashwords page; please click on it to be transported there.
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One word – wow!
Dear Ms. Billson,
I have just found your blog about films with cats – I just love it! So many movies, so many cats, so many memories… Let me introduce myself, my name is Denize Feijo, I’m 61, I’m Brazilian and I work as a translator. Let me tell you that I missed one of the most beautiful and intriguing films with a cat that I have ever seen, it’s from Czechoslovakia and it is called “Az prijde kocour”. You will be able to find it on IMDB (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056844/). Here’s a little summary from IMDB – “Some people with a strange cat arrive in a small village. The cat wears glasses, and when someone takes them off, she can color people, according to their nature and mood.” Please include it in your blog, it’s a beautiful movie!!!! Regards from Brazil!!!!
Thanks for your lovely message. I know that film, indeed I have it on DVD – but I just haven’t watched it yet. I will definitely move it up the “To Watch” list on your recommendation, and will write a Cats on Film about it. Many thanks!
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Dear Ms Billson,
Just came across your 2018 Guardian article about animal cruelty in films, as I wanted to know more about the subject, since quite often these things are glossed over when discussing ‘art’, and in my view there is no excuse for scenes featuring actual cruelty to be actually staged for the camera. Filmed cruelty which is not staged for the cameras (LES SANG DES BETES) is different, particularly if there is a purpose to it.
I was also interested to see that you had written a book on Cats in the Cinema. Not only does that cover two of my loves, but I started a thread on the subject online. If you look on ‘Nitrateville’, and enter ‘kitties’ in the search engine, you will find the thread ‘Scene-Stealing Kitties’, which generated several replies. It may be of interest also should there be a revised edition…
Hi Anne, wondering if you are available for 5 Live this evening to be a guest?
That’s radio, right? (I don’t live in the UK.) Not unless you pay me a lot of money, I’m afraid.
(I have plans, could cancel if it were worth my while. But also I have no idea what you would want me to talk about, so there’s that too.)
Hi, i loved your column in The Guardian, but late to the party, wanted to add one movie: Dogs of War, 1923, in fact somewhat surprised by the imission, as ot was recently rereleased w updated soundtrack. We know everyone loves lists, have you considered a piece on essential silents? Appreciate your work