Ann Hood was a bestselling writer living in Providence, RI with her husband Lorne and their two children, 8 year old Sam and 5 year old Grace, when unspeakable tragedy struck. In 2002, Grace, a healthy kindergartner, died suddenly from a virulent form of strep. One day she was twirling in her ballet class; two days later Hood and her husband were planning her funeral.
Since Hood was four years old and read her first words—Look! Look!—stories had been her source of comfort. She read to escape the world around her, and wrote to help understand that world. But in the aftermath of losing Grace, Hood also lost her ability to use words. Reading and writing proved elusive as she struggled with her grief.
One day, six months later, a friend gave her advice that would change Hood’s life and help her return to a life of hope and joy. “Learn to knit,” her friend suggested. And Hood, a Home Economics failure back in middle school, found herself lost in a new language—one of yarn and needles, knitting and purling. Hood often says she knit her way out of grief. Soon, she was reading again, and then writing again.
As the fog of grief lifted, Hood realized that she and Lorne needed to show their son Sam that grief does not have to defeat you. In 2005, three years after Grace died, Hood and her family traveled to Hunan, China to bring home their baby daughter Annabelle.
Hood has dedicated much of her time working with parents who have lost children, including serving on the board of the national organization, Compassionate Friends. Her grief work has also included speaking at hospice groups around the country and teaching bereaved mothers to knit. Her memoir, Comfort: A Journey Through Grief, was a New York Times Editor’s Choice and was named one of the top ten non-fiction books of 2008 by Entertainment Weekly. Her 2006 novel, The Knitting Circle, is an international bestseller and has been optioned by Katherine Heigl. In 2013, she edited Knitting Yarns, an anthology of writers writing about knitting. Hood has also been an advocate and speaker for international adoption, and her bestselling novel The Red Thread, explores the journey of six fictional families adopting babies from China.
Hood is a funny, heartwarming, poignant speaker. She tells her own story of how she found her way through loss in unexpected ways. She provides laughter, some tears and a large dose of hope to her audiences.
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