My name is Helen McClory. I’m a writer, reader and creator of literary guides born and educated in Scotland. I grew up on the isle of Skye off the west coast of Scotland, and in the capital, Edinburgh. Part islander, part denizen of the ‘city of Hume and Boswell’ (and Burke and Hare, and by spirit, Jekyll and Hyde). I’ve lived in Sydney (for graduate studies) and in New York City though for the moment I’m back in Edinburgh working on my next project and daydreaming of more travels. I’m represented by Jenny Brown.
My debut novel Flesh of the Peach is out now. Flesh of the Peach tackles the immigrant experience, grief, art, violence and desire in various guises – all sprawled across the big landscapes of the New Mexican Southern Rockies, NYC, and the Cornwall of the main character’s childhood. The Skinny called it “an exhilarating debut. It houses a story rich and full.” The Herald called me “one of the best new writers to have emerged in Scotland in the last few years.” (!) The launch was in Blackwell’s Edinburgh on the 25th of April 2017 and I wore a gold jumpsuit and vintage cape at it, because the internet advised me to.
On The Edges Of Vision, a collection of flash fictions, prose poetry and longer form pieces came out from Queen’s Ferry Press in August 2015. The book won the Saltire First Book of the Year Award 2015 and was longlisted for the Saboteur Awards Best Short Story Collection 2016. Two of the pieces from the collection, “To String” and “The Mistress of the House on the Machair” were nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Another, “Lope”, was shortlisted for the 2014 Bridport Prize. You can read about the creation of the collection, and about language barriers, writers I love, and what makes a monster, here. If you’d like to read more of my short fiction, here’s a list of links. You can buy the collection ***here*** with free shipping worldwide.
The book launched in Waterstones Argyle Street on the 20th of August. I took On the Edges of Vision on Kickstarter-funded tour from 24th of August to the 6th of September 2015, reading at bookshops up and down the American East Coast. View the tour blog, archived here. Have time for a podcast? Here’s two – Mr Bear’s Violet Hour Saloon (in which I and Mr Bear read from On the Edges of Vision) and Book Fight (in which I talk about one of my favourite books on female (toxic) friendships, Paulina & Fran).
From the 31st of October to the 7th of December 2013, I was a Creative Futures Artist-in-residence at the Banff Centre, Alberta, Canada. Search posts tagged ‘banff’ for more on my experiences there. Before I went, I had just finished a stint as Writer-in-residence at Necessary Fiction. Check out my project – bringing attention to Literature of the Girl – in their archive (September 2013).
My first MS, Kilea, tells the story of a mysterious but sweet-hearted girl growing up under harsh conditions on a Scottish island. A chapter from Kilea appeared in Necessary Fiction in February 2012 and again in 2013 when I was writer-in-resident. Another extract appeared on The Island Review in September 2013. An early draft of Kilea formed the basis for my PhD thesis at the University of Glasgow.
I started The Unsung Letter, a weekly email singing the praises of an unjustly-underhyped new book, with each post written by a different writer, critic or book-pusher every time. Sign up here. I’m fiction editor at Necessary Fiction and I used to review at The Female Gaze. I often write about (and think about, and watch) horror films and TV shows of a macabre tint. I love literary fiction and support small presses whenever I can. If you would like to ask me anything, or would simply enjoy a chat about writing and bookish matters, email me: hlmcclory[@]gmail.com or say hello on twitter: @HelenMcClory. Interested in having me speak at your event, school, college or uni? I’d love to – I’m part of the Scottish Book Trust’s Live Literature Database.