Author Anne Googwin
Author Anne Googwin

Lyrics for the Loved Ones is my fourth novel and third book about Matty, a woman living her best life, despite a tragic past.

1.  The main character is a one-hundred-year-old care-home resident who is determined to entertain the nation, whether or not the nation wants to be entertained. With the help of a tech-savvy teenage care assistant, she raises thousands for charity.

2.  The care home is imaginary, but I had a clear sense of where it would be located on the Cumbrian coast. Quite by chance, I found an editor who lives near that very spot.

3.  The novel is laugh-out-loud funny … while addressing some extremely dark topics, such as institutional racism, forced adoption and mental health difficulties.

4.  I wrote the first draft in a state of anxiety and outrage. Anxiety because I had the idea during the first lockdown, when ordinary life was turned on its head. Outrage because of government neglect of the social care sector during the pandemic. When the Black Lives Matter protests erupted, the story delved even deeper.

5.  It’s the only novel I’m aware of that features the Windrush scandal, when thousands of people who came from the Caribbean to Britain as children were wrongly classed as illegal immigrants and threatened with deportation.

6.  It pays tribute to Jeanette Winterson’s memoir, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? One character, Gloria, finds disturbing echoes of her own life when she takes it to her book group in the local library.

7.  Lyrics for the Loved Ones draws on the rich dialect of West Cumbria, where I grew up. Most early readers enjoy the language, but I’ve added a glossary for extra clarity.


After half a century confined in a psychiatric hospital, Matty has moved to a care home on the Cumbrian coast. Next year, she’ll be a hundred, and she intends to celebrate in style. Yet, before she can make the arrangements, her ‘maid’ goes missing.

Irene, a care assistant, aims to surprise Matty with a birthday visit from the child she gave up for adoption as a young woman. But, when lockdown shuts the care-home doors, all plans are put on hold.

But Matty won’t be beaten. At least not until the Black Lives Matter protests burst her bubble and buried secrets come to light.

Will she survive to a hundred? Will she see her ‘maid’ again? Will she meet her long-lost child?

Rooted in injustice, balanced with humour, this is a bittersweet story of reckoning with hidden histories in cloistered times.

Anne's Book Lyrics for the Loved Ones is Published 15th May

That same curiosity now powers her fiction. An award -winning short-story writer, her debut novel, Sugar and Snails, was shortlisted for the 2016 Polari First Book Prize.


Anne Goodwin’s drive to understand what makes people tick led to a career in clinical psychology.



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