Story Roundup + Interview


(a picture of Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil)


Here are some pieces recently published in the following places:


Vol 1. Brooklyn


Queen Mob’s Teahouse


There’s an interview with me in Westender


And tickets are on sale for my appearance with the excellent Camilla Grudova at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, on Friday the 24th of August at 6.30pm.


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Filed under book festival, Brazil, EIBF, experimental fiction, flash fiction, Poetry, Scotland, short stories

Interview on Minor Lits + review

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.



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Filed under 404 Ink, experimental fiction, Helen McClory, Mayhem & Death, On The Edges of Vision, Scotland, The Goldblum Variations

Interview + Podcast roundup

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.

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Filed under 404 Ink, Helen McClory, Mayhem & Death, New Mexico, New York, On The Edges of Vision, reading, Scotland

The Unsung Letter No. 60


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.

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Filed under Book recommendation, book recommendations, book review, short stories, the unsung letter

Brazil Residency – conclusions



I’ve been back from Brazil almost a week and have been reflecting on my experiences there. Time for a wrap-up post!


I (rather reluctantly) left Boiçucanga about ten days before I went home – this was because the residency actually officially started a week before I came (with short notice I had to come later!). So I took the bus to Sao Paulo and hung out with the artists I’d met in the beautiful spot by the sea in their city – there I saw the bustling streets, high-rises, graffiti, buses and underground, restaurants, bars, art galleries (MASP was a highlight), and their homes.  The video of translations and original versions of my work was broadcast at a gallery opening, which was, quite frankly, mindblowing. People were so incredibly generous to me, and I felt that I didn’t have enough time to give everyone their due. Huge thanks in particular to Lourdina, the residency founder, for her kindness, and to Bea, for putting me up for so long.


While I’d had warnings that Sao Paulo was dirty and stressful with little to attract tourists, my experience was so personalised that I couldn’t help but see the sunny side of things. I managed to do less work than I’d have liked, since my laptop succumbed to the blue screen of death for reasons unknown early into the Sao Paulo stint. But I took a lot of photographs, some of which I hope to share on Twitter and other places.


I’m home now, and as I thought, have a lot to think about regarding my time. I started work on a poetry collection while there – I’ve had a few poems published over the years, but have never really felt like I had a whole collection in me, until now. It’s exciting and challenging to approach it. They are poems about Brazil, about Boiçucanga and my time there. There are possibilities of working with a translator and getting in touch with Brazilian publishers about the finished work, and ideally I would like to return to the country for further research. I’m working too on a project to build a connection between Scotland and Brazil for visiting and local artists and writers, though it’s at a very tender stage, with much research still to be done on the practical points. I hope it will bring good things for many people.


So, at the end of all this, I think back to the point where it started – where I realised I could actually make it. Massive thanks to Kaaysa for hosting me, and biggest of all to The Saltire Society and the Society of Authors for providing the funding – at great speed, as was needed – to make it happen. Thank you for everything. The effects are ongoing, and I will feel them in my work, possibly forever.

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Filed under Boiçucanga, Brazil Residency, The Now, Uncategorized, writing residency

The Unsung Letter No. 59

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.



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Filed under book cover, Book recommendation, book recommendations, book review, the unsung letter

The Unsung Letter No. 58

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.


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Filed under Book recommendation, book recommendations, book review, the unsung letter, Uncategorized