Graduate explores “what if” questions about the Bible in debut novel

The first novel by St John’s alumna Anna Lindsay, Eden Undone, which dramatises a story from the first book of the Bible, is to be released in the United States in the autumn.

Eden Undone, which was released in the UK earlier this year, retells the story of Creation and the Fall, but adds a twist, by asking “What if Eve had said no?”

The first half of the novel is set in Eden with the story of creation and an unspoiled world where everyone lives in harmony. It then explores the “what if” scenario: what would have happened if Eve had said no and not succumbed to the serpent’s temptation? The second part of the book follows one of the characters and his family as they try to build their lives outside Eden’s boundaries.

Eden Undone is ultimately a tale of a love that never fails – whatever happens,” Anna said. “It appeals to people of all ages and most outlooks, rather like CS Lewis’ Narnia chronicles. If you enjoyed that series, you are likely to love this story.”

The “what if” retelling of Genesis goes behind the scenes to weave a moving and often funny story of grace and joy, loss and sin, hope and redemption.

Anna Lindsay decided to write Eden Undone after she had a sudden whimsical thought: if Genesis were literal, what would have happened if Eve had said no? “It seemed such an obvious line of thought to follow and develop that I was sure there must be hundreds of novels about precisely that,” Anna said. “Except that it turns out that no-one had done so – CS Lewis' Perelandra doesn't count as it assumes that once evil had been defeated once it would simply give up – so, since no-one else had done so, I felt that I needed to!”

Anna came to St John’s in 1984 to study English, Social Psychology and Criminology. “I chose to study as St John’s because I simply fell in love with it at first sight when emerging onto the Backs via Kitchen Bridge. My guide said to me, ‘Of course, this is a men's only College,’ and my dreams shattered. ‘But it's going mixed next year,’ she continued. And that was it!”

Since graduating from St John’s, Anna, who speaks multiple languages, has worked as a volunteer in Hong Kong with Jackie Pullinger to help drug addicts, as a temp in Switzerland where she helped set up a drug outreach programme in her spare time, and as a teacher in the UK. Eden Undone is Anna’s first published novel, but she has also written three children’s books and a collection of poetry which she hopes to publish one day.

Eden Undone, published by Instant Apostle and distributed by Lion Hudson, is due to be released in the US this autumn. To read more about the novel, visit

Eden Undone photo credit: Instant Apostle.