Here’s an interview with me on writing, darkness, little fish and knife fighting in the afterlife:
You’re now published by one of the most exciting indie presses around, 404 Ink – how do you think the rise of micro presses like this have changed the literary landscape, and what has it meant for you as a writer?
I think small presses have made it possible for the literary scene to be more diverse than it would otherwise be – they are like little rockpools carved out by hand, full of life…
read the full thing here
A kind, sharp review of Mayhem & Death appeared on the Never Imitate blog:
Deep within the bowels of her carefully chosen words, reflections of the ordinary are made dark, lonely, threatening. However inspiring the view on the surface of an individual’s life may be, under McClory’s piercing gaze its desolate depths are revealed.
This is, the reviewer says, a good thing. Read the rest here.
Hello all –
It’s been a while (The Unsung Letter is on hiatus for a little bit) but I thought I’d share some places where I’ve been lately.
I spoke to the Times, The Herald, and the Sunday Post and you can read the interviews through the links.
Most recently Alistair Braidwood of Scots Whay Hae and I had a chat all about Mayhem & Death, On the Edges of Vision, Flesh of the Peach, travel, rejection, loneliness, grief and making art – and Jeff Goldblum, of course. Have a listen here. It’s a good long one, so maybe make yourself a cup of tea first. Mayhem & Death was reviewed on Scots Whay Hae here.
This week, Kate Kiernan tells us of a book of short stories examining transness and human nature in general:
In many ways [redacted]’s short stories succeed in establishing a trans subject whose transness is meaningfully enmeshed within a broader human (and, indeed, non-human) community; the revolt of her characters is not a queer one per se (a constructive expression aimed at a status quo) but a natural one (a destructive expression of who they are).
Read the full piece here.
As ever, you can sign up to receive The Unsung Letter straight to you inbox right here.
This week’s Unsung Letter comes with a delay due to technical troubles with my laptop in Brazil, but here it is at last, from Emilie Kirstensen-McLachlan:
The novel is a striking example of how literature can open your eyes to other people’s lives, surroundings, and understandings of the world. Janie Ryan grows up in an environment full of people often demonized by large parts of the population as being lazy and worthless. This stereotype of the “lazy poor” is as common in Denmark as it is in the UK. Kerry Hudson’s on-point, heart-breaking writing reveals the inner-lives of characters about whom the close-knit circles of power and the media so often speculate.
Read the full thing here, and as ever, sign up for The Unsung Letter here to receive a weekly missive on an underhyped book by a living author.
Is here – apologies for the delay in posting. I’m still in Sao Paulo, bouncing from one place to another, head spinning.
Here is Harry Harris on a book of essays on famous women in popular culture:
Massey approaches her subjects as a fan, first and foremost. Not a fan in the sense of being uncritical or idolatry, but more with that obsessive, analytical desire to dissect and examine what sets these women apart.
Read the whole thing here. As ever, you can sign up for The Unsung Letter to come straight to your inbox with all its goodness – the personally adored secret or semi-secret books of its authors – here.
It’s been a while since I posted – I had fallen into the rhythms of the residency – work in the mornings when it was cool enough, then go out to the waterfall, or the beach, or the market, then prepare a meal with the others, then talk long into the night about art and life while the insects chirricked.
At some point, I worked with one of the other artists to create a translation of “Stick to Me, Peel From Me” and “Take Care, I Love You” into Portuguese. The second is a kind of dialogue so we blended it into both languages. In the picture about you can see Pedro reading his translation for the camera. He works with video, and so edited our performances together with footage from a shared meal at Kaaysa, and then we had a screening, projected on the studio wall. The process of translation was incredible – it has changed how I relate to those stories, how I understand my word choices, themes – everything. I hope to work with more translations, a whole book of them is the dream now. Working closely with the translator is bound to provoke new stories too, new modes of seeing.
And now, today is my last day at Kaaysa. It has happened very suddenly and time seems to have rushed and drawn out for years at once. I feel completely changed by my experiences here – in good ways I think, productive for my writing. But all change is disruptive, so I will have to see what a return to Scotland brings. Anyway before then, I have another trip to the waterfall, and over a week in Sao Paulo, kindly staying at the home of Kaaysa’s creator. I’m viewing it as a second stage to the residency – with hopefully time to write rather than just take in another unfamiliar, hopefully wonderful environment. While in the city I am planning on attending a show Kaaysa are putting on, and seeing loads of galleries and hanging out a lot with many of my new friends. I hope to write another post about my time there too, though internet may be even spottier than it is here (or at least, my access might be). Watch this space.