Over the course of a few months, I was interviewed for Splice. You can now read the whole thing, if you’d like here.
Helen McClory is a prolific writer of flash fiction and short stories, as well as a novelist and an advocate for overlooked works of literature. In reviewing her two story collections for Splice, Daniel Davis Wood called McClory a “distinctive” writer who “survey[s] the stuff of folklore and mythology and weav[es] it into serious fiction with vivid imagery and poetic flair”. Throughout the summer of 2018, following the publication of her most recent collection, Mayhem & Death, Helen McClory generously set aside time to talk to Splice about her work, her interest in different literary forms, and her plans for the future
Wood also reviewed both On the Edges of Vision and Mayhem & Death here.
One of my pieces, “It Seemed Impossible it Could Ever Begin” was one Fictive Dream’s September Slam flashes.
Another apocalyptic story of mine, “A Quiet, Important Thing”, is up on Minor Literatures.
(my books for sale at the EIBF bookshop)
A few places to see me reading this week:
Tomorrow, at Blackwell’s Writers at the Fringe (Blackwell’s Edinburgh), from 6pm, with Jonathan Whitelaw, Sam McColl, Noelle Harrison and Robert J Harris (free!). Tickets here.
Friday, at the Edinburgh International Book Festival (Writer’s Retreat), 6.30pm, with the excellent Camilla Grudova (£8/£6). Tickets here.
Saturday, at the Amnesty International Imprisoned Writers Series at the Edinburgh International Book Festival (Baillie Gifford Corner Theatre), with Roxanne Bouchard, Gina Miller, and Gunnar Staalesen (free) tickets available in box office on the day.
At the first two I’ll be reading from recently published Mayhem & Death– at the Blackwell’s I’ll be reading a story in that collection dedicated to my father. In the third, I’m reading the words of an activist silenced in Edrogan’s Turkey.
From 404’s lit magazine launch at Summerhall
Ahead of the (by the way excellent) launch of 404’s 3rd edition of their magazine (on the theme of Power – available here) event hosts Interrobang interviewed me and other performers Ross McLeary, Siobhan Shields and Kaite Welsh. Click through to see what I’d like for a superpower and my favourite song with the word “power” in it.
I also got to see The Goldblum Variations in the flesh for the first time (as well as hearing some fab surreal stories, hanging out with good folk and buying myself some 404 merch and copy of the Hings B-sides). Fantastic!
This week, Naomi Frisby of the excellent The Writes of Woman gives her recommendation:
Recently, I’ve found myself championing experimental fiction written by women. There are two reasons for this: one, it’s a genre where I think women are producing the most interesting and innovative work and two, if you looked to mainstream coverage of experimental fiction written by women you might believe it begins and ends with Eimear McBride.
Why, I wonder, does experimental fiction by women go largely ignored?
Read the full letter here. Subscribe here for a weekly missive by a different writer on an underpraised book that deserves a wider audience than the quiet of the void. Stay tuned for a giant Christmas Unsung Letter in the coming weeks (once I get to it – it’s huge!)
Obligatory reminder in the run-up to the festive season – you can buy The Goldblum Variations for £5 here – it’s a collection of Jeff Goldblum stories. Perfect stocking filler/surprise placemat for the Jeff Goldblum appreciator in your life (or anyone who likes absurdist fun). Also if you’d like to get my novel Flesh of the Peach on its rapidly-dwindling print run, you can buy it here (worldwide free shipping) or from your local indie bookshop.
This week’s Unsung Letter is from Helena Roots, on an intense book satirising relationships with food, American culture, and other bodies:
I have a tendency, particularly as the days shorten and the cold tightens its grip, to reach for books that warp my own ideas of normality. If I go off-radar in the Autumn and Winter months, and I often do, chances are I’m wrapped up in a blanket, being chewed up and spat out by books just like this.
Read more here…
Subscribe to The Unsung Letter to receive a weekly essay by a different writer / book lover on a book they think is underbeloved and worthy of praise. The archive is available too, if you’d like to have a browse.
Side note: Vol 1. Brooklyn wrote a piece on the rising popularity of Jeff Goldblum and covered my small book which you can pre-order for early December if you haven’t already for the modest sum of £5 (via the link to 404 included in the article).
Now available to pre-order is a book I did not expect to write: The Goldblum Variations. Here’s the cover, from 404 Ink:
The idea came from a prompt from writer Gillian Best for The Paperchain Podcast. I wrote a short, absurdist collection of microfictions for the podcast, then went on to write a whole book of them, including such chapters as:
Past Lives of Jeff Goldblum
Bingo Goldbingo (Jeff Goldblum Bingo)
Fragments of Jeff Goldblum
Checking in with Jeff Goldblum on Alternative Earths
and many more.
I promise a joyous, weird experience rich in Jeff Goldblumness. At only 40 pages, it makes the ideal stocking stuffer for Christmas too.
Pre-order it here (only £5 + £1 postage)
The first story of Mayhem & Death (March 2018, 404 Ink) is up in Joyland today:
It was now high morning on a bright day in late March, the kind of day when the earth begins to release scents it has kept pursed all winter long, and it seems as if, finally, the year shows a little fight. Up in one of the red sandstone tenements a woman was plumping the cushions of the window-seat in an otherwise empty room. Frances: A study in sallow blotches against white, puffy, slept-in skin, pale hair knotted at the nape of her neck, a jumper tucked in heavy black folds into a red skirt, under which rumpled winter tights, no shoes. She was at that moment kneeling on the hardwood floor.
Uncharacteristically, this is a full-length short story (though, in keeping with many other of my stories, there is a tea-drinking scene). It follows Frances as she journeys from Glasgow to Mallaig to the isle of Skye and the aforementioned souterrain, carrying a dream-journal written by her daughter, entitled Mayhem & Death. The daughter is a character who reappears in the novella at the end of the collection, but you’ll have to wait until it comes out to learn how her story plays out.
Read the full story here. Tea (or other hot beverage) optional.