Author Lana Citron turns her Diary of an Accidental Mother into a podcast

Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

When the Maida Vale author discovered she was pregnant and single at 42 she wrote a weekly blog about this unexpected life event

Lana Citron Maida Vale author

Lana Citron Maida Vale author - Credit: Archant

Seven years ago, Lana Citron found herself in an ‘interesting condition’.

The 42-year-old single mum had just split up with her musician boyfriend and had no intention of having a baby.

Yet despite being on reliable contraception, her pregnancy test was indeed positive.

What happened next was the subject of her weekly blog The Diary of An Accidental Mother, and has now been turned into a podcast to keep us entertained during lockdown.

From tracking down ‘The daddy’ on tour with his rock band, to bemoaning the loss of her trip to Paris, The Maida Vale author - a trained actress - strikes a comically honest tone about her ambivalence towards this seismic life event in five minute weekly episodes.

“I was on contraception so it was a total surprise,” she recalls.

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“It started as a weekly blog when I was pregnant. I loved writing it, it’s so direct, and it’s all true. But I don’t feel it’s exposing because there is also a distance, a perspective of yourself that you are presenting.”

A creative writing teacher at Morley College in Lambeth, Citron was asked if she had an idea to contribute for the college’s new state of the art radio station.

“I thought why don’t I turn The Accidental Mother into a podcast? It’s all there already. It feels a bit strange to be revisiting it, it’s like looking in an old diary, but it was a wonderful opportunity to produce something and see it through the perspective of time.”

Asked why she never turned the blog into a novel, the Dublin-born writer says: “It’s my life experience it’s not even a memoir, I would have to reshape it for a book, but it works as a podcast because of its straight conversational style.”

She adds: “I am not a ‘there, there’ kind of writer, my writing can be honest - the honesty is in the humour - but I can also be (probably) unconventionally romantic.”

While the first few episodes were recorded in the college’s studio, the remainder will be done from her kitchen near Paddington Rec, where she is locked down home schooling her ‘little one’.

The 50-year-old is consequently finding it hard to work, although her sixth novel is already written but with a delayed publishing date.

The Final Ascension of Annie Kay is inspired by her mother who grew up in Dublin’s Jewish area known as Little Jerusalem.

“When she was born during the War it was a bustling community of 5,000, now there are less than 1,000,” says Citron, who was educated at Trinity College Dublin and has also written radio plays, stand up comedy, poetry, and short films including one about a Jewish girl’s first Holy Communion.

The novel opens in a cemetery as a daughter, who has made her mother a promise on her deathbed, gets into her car with her baby. Beside her is the ghost of her mother.

“The book is about the mother daughter conversation and conflict as she brings her back home,” explains Citron.

“It’s taken from after the death of my mother. She was a very proud Irish woman but in her late 60s we forced her to come over and live in London and she hated it. She had no friends and ended up dying here. She was buried off the M25 when she really wanted to be buried in Dublin but because of the Jewish (burial rites) we didn’t have time.

“I thought ‘how do I get her back? and I realised I would have to write her back to Dublin.”

The first five episodes of Diary of an Accidental Mother can be heard on or