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Review of On the Edges of Vision in Gutter

It’s been a long time – I’ve been travelling, and writing (writing and writing very slowly, and thinking about writing while the world spins on its terrible path) but today, some news. There’s a review of On the Edges of Vision up on Gutter, written by Laura Waddell:

 

Free from the debut trope of self-reference and loosely-disguised autobiography, McClory engages in a kind of inquisitive modern mythmaking. Within settings as diverse as forests, airports and ideal homes, a pleasing jumble of styles and references emerge: fantasy, horror, classicism, fairytales, and other dark flavours. Such macabre turns bring to mind the terror of Ann Radcliffe or poetic justice of Roald Dahl.

 

Read more here!

 

There has been little to report of my writing life, mostly because I’ve been working away on the witchy novel, which will hopefully be done by late next year. It evolves away from me, first a moth then a snake, then sometimes just pages that I have to let slip from my hands and fall around me and gather again. I’m happy with the work though. Time taken is time (and hopefully text) made richer.  The biggest thing ahead is the emergence of my debut novel, Flesh of the Peach. That’s April, next year, out from Freight. Less than six months away. I hope to share the cover here as soon as I am allowed. A cover makes it real, doesn’t it?

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‘The Beautiful Birds of the Aftermath’ in Gutter no 15

Squint and you can see my name on the cover

Squint and you can see my name on the cover

 

The new issue of Gutter is out now, and features one of my stories from Mayhem & Death – as well as a wonderful review of On the Edges of Vision. My book turns one year old on the 18th of this month. It was launched at Waterstones Argyle Street, right before I headed out on the American book tour. Hard to believe that it’s been a year already! I’m still not over the book winning the Saltire First Book of the Year award either.

A year, a year – and what have I been up to lately. I know I’ve been quiet here. Much of that is to do with the fact I’ve been working away on line edits for Flesh of the Peach, coming out next spring. It’s been a wonderful process, neither too invasive nor not rigorous enough – edits from an excellent editor are so important for tweaking bits into focus and letting the heart of the novel shine through. Now the book is off to the proofreader, and I’m anticipating the next phases: the cover and blurbs. Still floating ahead of me in the dusk. While that happens, I’ve work to do on the witchy novel I’ve spoken about here. Drafting and redrafting. Circling in on what is important there. The bones and the flesh of the thing refined. It’s easy to get discouraged at this – so far from the finish line that it seems to be an impossible distance away. It’s been almost two years since I completed the novella version of the book, and by optimistic calculations perhaps another year before it’s finished. I think come the autumn it will be easier. It’s an autumnal book, a little eerie, a little surreal. Littleg at all in kinship with Flesh of the Peach, which is, as my editor said, a ‘dark star’ of a novel. But part of me now, having read the earlier book, wants to bring something in line with the latter. I might have to dig down for texture, something a bit brutal – but trying to do so without crushing the sweet, folktale feel I want it to have. Hmm. Work to be done. I’d better get started.

 

If you’d like to buy Gutter no 15, here’s the link. You’ll be supporting writing from Scotland and elsewhere. Lots to read and much to discover, and only £6.99.

 

 

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Automaton Town on Southword

A new story from the in-progress collection Mayhem and Death is in Southword Journal:

 

They had bought the automaton town from a strange man in small offices in the city. They had bought the automaton town, and had it wrapped in soft cloth and transported by barge so as not to risk damage. When the barge came to the closest point to their home, they sent men with a specially constructed pallet to lift the automaton town and walk it across the lawns and into the ballroom, where it filled nearly a quarter of the floor space. There may never be dancing again, thought the daughter of the house.

Read More…

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Big Songs, Wild Words

If you are near Edinburgh tomorrow evening this announcement is for you:

 

Come one come all

 

– for a very special fusion of Canadian pop and Scottish writing! Come hear singer-songwriters Iskwé and Melissa Bandura, along with writers Ailsa Crum, Laura Tansley and Helen McClory.

Iskwé (pronounced iss-kway, meaning “Woman” in her native language) draws upon her Cree/Dene (Aboriginal) and Irish roots to produce a sound filled with booming bass lines and heavy beats, defining her distinctive offering of Alternative RnB/TripHop.

She has recently been listed by the CBC “Top 10 Canadian Musicians You Need to Know” and twice by The Grid TO as “One to Watch”.

Melissa Bandura is a member of Canadian band Familiar Wild: Familiar Wild writes intuitively from a melodic space, what results is a brand of “Pop music with heart and soul…& brain…& kindness”- DJ Champion.

Readings from Ailsa Crum, Helen McClory (author of On the Edges of Vision – Saltire First Book of the Year 2015), and Laura Tansley add wildness, salt and weirdness to flavour the night.

Merchandise and books for sale. Ditto Alcohol (and soft drinks) in abundance.

£5 on the door.

 

Iskwé

Melissa Bandura

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‘The Language of Heaven’ on Winter Tangerine

Another flash fiction from the in-progress collection Mayhem and Death has gone up on Winter Tangerine.

 

I want to tell you about this other film I saw, one night when you were out sticking twigs in your hair and shoving your hand into the mouths of foxes, you dank, fleshy monster. This film was about a woman who had lost her snakes.

Read More…

 

 

 

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#ScotLitFest and Brexit

One very good thing, and one depressing thing!

One week ago, the first online literary festival of Scottish writing happened – right in the wake of Britain voting to leave the EU (as you may know, while Scotland and Northern Ireland voted strongly to remain within it). #ScotLitFest took place across Twitter and livestreams and Youtube, and was fantastic, a shining point in moment where the future yawned open ahead of us. You can catch up with some of the discussions, readings and interviews of #ScotLitFest by checking out their Youtube page. And there you’ll see a discussion between Kirsty Logan and myself, as chaired by Sasha de Buyl-Pisco. It’s about an hour long, and we talk about all sorts of things, from short stories, to novels, to bad art and notions of reality.

 

Make yourself a tea – perhaps this is even a two-tea event.

 

On the topic of Brexit, 3AM Magazine (who have published my work before) have been gathering the single-sentence reactions of writers, publishers and other literary types on this article. I’ve contributed my instant impression, though others have had more constructive or analytical things to say. On Wednesday I took myself and my opinions outside, and attended a pro-EU rally outside Hollyrood, the Scottish Parliament.

 

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There were some good speakers (and some harder to hear) but Patrick Harvie, leader of the Scottish Green Party, said it best – humans are a migratory species, and that is a good thing, he said. He wanted us to celebrate the inherent value of all people. No ‘good’ migrants for him. I have to hope that voices like his win over. Brexit has caused a lot of division, and have led already to a bubbling up of (of course always present) racism and xenophobia. Where now for us? Well, for Scotland, as for Northern Ireland, the future seems particularly uncertain, but with a way forward for Scotland at least that I am putting my hopes on: There is talk of a second independence referendum for Scotland, and a few previous ‘no’ voters I’ve spoken to have said with Britain wanting to leave the EU, they would now vote ‘yes’ for an independent Scotland within the EU – an community which after all protects so many rights as well as providing funding for infrastructure and institutions alike. But this is all ahead, all possible, or impossible. The future, as I said, has opened up its jaws. What happens now depends on the voices of the people and the actions of those in charge.

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An Interview

Writer Hayley Webster is hosting an online literary festival right now, and as part of it she has interviewed me on On the Edges of Vision and being a writer and speaking up for other writers (which she does herself very often, as evidenced by the efforts she has gone through to organise a literary festival under her own steam!)

 

Read the interview here

 

and keep an eye out on her twitter feed as she posts interviews with other writers!

 

 

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