Hello, I’m Angela Hughes. During my recovery from a heart transplant I wrote a memoir, My Heart’s Content, about my experience, which was published on 22 October 2020.
A wee bit about me
I’m a scribbler. Not a list writer or note-taker, a scribbler. Have been all my life. Snippets of overheard conversation, incomplete thoughts, ideas for characters, books, plays. My biggest frustration was my inability to use any of those scribblings and chase the idea through to its conclusion. Until I became ill. And time began to run out. Because the other thing I am is deadline driven, and trust me there’s no more compelling deadline than seeing the finish line of your own life up ahead.
Which is why, in 2011, with a failing heart and limited breath, I quit my job, cashed in my savings and applied to do an MLitt in Creative Writing. And never looked back.
Within a year of graduation, two of my short stories from my dissertation were published and I was shortlisted for a New Writers’ Award. I was riding a crest (not a significant one by comparison to many writers but a crest non-the-less), that is until November 2013, when I collapsed in the car park of my local hospital and was subsequently ‘blue-lighted’ to the transplant ward of the Golden Jubilee Hospital in Glasgow.
In early December I was listed for an emergency heart transplant, which I received on Christmas Day.
During my long recovery, I wrote my first book length manuscript. An early draft of My Heart’s Content won me the Moniack Mhor Work in Progress grant and extracts of it were published in several literary magazines.
I sent the final manuscript to my one preferred publisher and crossed my fingers. They said yes. Then before my book was published, they went into receivership. And my mum was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
Priorities changed. My husband Paul and I took time out and moved to live by the sea.
It took a couple of years to resume my writing but last year I was shortlisted for the Berlin Writing Prize. Along with Paul and our friends Brian and Bibo, I was also awarded the Time to Stare Bursary to explore developing a joint theatre production about our shared experience – Brian had his transplant a few weeks before I had mine.
When we were recently advised to stay in as a result of the pandemic, Paul and I decided to publish the book ourselves. It felt exciting and terrifying and exactly the right thing to do.
My Heart’s Content is available at: Liminalink.com