Marie-Elsa Bragg

Sleeping Letters
  • Sleeping Letters

  • '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

    A unique, intimate and beautiful exploration of grief, loss, healing and faith, that looks back to the childhood moment when Marie-Elsa R. Bragg's mother committed suicide

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


    When Marie-Elsa R. 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 that have carried 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 daughter’s love.

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.