Freud was educated at the Lycee Francais de Londres and then studied English and European Literature at Warwick University. Since 1975, she has worked intermittently as a tapestry artist and embroiderer, exhibiting work and undertaking commissions from people such as Anthony D'Offay, Jon Snow and Graham Norton. In comparing the making of her poems to the making of her visual art, Freud writes "I think it is the process of dredging, choosing, selecting and rejecting what material is there that is so exciting. Even if I eventually chuck most of it out as unnecessary soft furnishing, that's how I often discover what my subject matter might be."
She didn’t begin writing poetry till the late 1990's. Seeing Anne Carson read at Poetry International was an awakening for Freud, as she describes being "electrified by [Carson’s] grief. Here was something grand, disturbing, like a horse rearing up on its hind legs in protest." When she did start writing, she enjoyed reading to an audience and attending poetry readings for a number of years and in 2006, Donut Press offered to publish her pamphlet A Voids Officer Achieves the Tree Pose. Her first full collection from Picador appeared shortly afterwards: The Best Man Who Ever Was was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation in 2007, and went on to receive the Glen Dimplex New Writers' Award (Poetry) in the same year.
Freud has been described as a poet who writes with "real gusto". A Guardian review talks about the "obvious delight' that she takes in language, describing The Best Man That Ever Was as a "magpie-like collection of odd and beautiful words and phrases". Freud's poems are chaotic, hectic and witty; are a romp through London, its melancholy and beauty; are a sumptuous tumble through love, appetites and desire. In the filmic 'Interlude for Xylophone, Banjo and Trumpet', our hero receives a phone call in the first stanza which sets him off on a vaguely amphibrachic walk, taking in the noise and the bustle of the city, ending with an unsatisfactory bowl of custard in a cafe served by an 'adorable waitress'.
Hearing Annie Freud's recording shows her speaking voice to be anchored somehow to her poetic voice; rich and mildly flirtatious. And when she suggests in her introduction to 'The Best Man that Ever Was' that we make the dessert zabaglione for ourselves, we know that from breaking the first egg to eating the last mouthful, it will be sensual, delicious.
This recording was made on the 29th November, 2007 at the Audio Workshop, London and was produced by Richard Carrington.