> Skip to content
  • Published: 28 November 2019
  • ISBN: 9781473570566
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 128

Sleeping Letters




A unique, intimate and beautiful exploration of grief, loss, healing and faith from Marie-Elsa Bragg

We sat in the kitchen across the small wooden table from each other. She ate three petits filous yoghurts, I had one. She cried like banks bursting, then silence; like winds blowing through her shoulders, chest bouncing, then long shallow breaths. She ruptured and I watched, silent, emotionless. ‘You must stop crying.’

When Marie-Elsa Bragg was just 6 years old, her mother committed suicide. Now, many years later, Marie-Elsa returns to that night. Going back to that moment, inhabiting this defining tragedy, allows for an exploration of the grief but also brings healing – as well as the affirmation that it is her experiences as a priest, in particular the ritual of the Eucharist, that have held her.

In a unique and remarkable mix of prose and poetry, and written partly as a series of unsent letters to both her mother and father, Sleeping Letters is a way of connecting to past family, an attempt to reconcile with loss, as well as a radical exploration of Marie-Elsa’s own faith. While harrowing and unforgettable, it is also an immensely beautiful book, with a luminous sense of a mother and daughter’s love.

  • Published: 28 November 2019
  • ISBN: 9781473570566
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 128

About the author

Marie-Elsa R. Bragg

Marie-Elsa Roche Bragg is half French, half Cumbrian and was brought up in London. She studied Philosophy and Theology at the University of Oxford, and trained for the Priesthood at Ripon College Cuddesdon. She is a Priest in the diocese of London, an Ignatian spiritual director, a therapist and a Duty Chaplain of Westminster Abbey. Her first novel, Towards Mellbreak, was published in 2017.

Praise for Sleeping Letters

truly remarkable... Searingly honest… This book carries its readers to a place where inhibitions and fears about loss and death give way to something more hopefully and, in their own way, real

Peter Stanford, Daily Telegraph

Moving, challenging and hauntingly beautiful... This exquisite book chronicles the quest to process a grief that can never end. This is one I shall return to again and again

Bel Mooney, Daily Mail

This is a beautiful book, a remarkable, cadenced recollection of how grief lives in the body. It is poetry as a kind of dance. You have to read it

Edmund de Waal

Everything in Sleeping Letters tastes and smells of the authentic life. It’s a living example of what both religion and – especially in Jung’s wise hands – psychology are supposed to do and be. This tiny book is an enormous lesson in finding the sacred through our suffering, in always trusting the impossible, in remembering how to write and read while asleep

Peter Kingsley, author of Catafalque and In the Dark Places of Wisdom

Related titles