Tag Archives: Helen McClory

(Read Me) on Full Stop

I have a kind of a companion piece to the personal anthology of flash that went up the other day: an essay on how to read things that we don’t think are for us, including flash fiction (which plenty of people struggle to read, I’ve found, and not wish was something else)


Here it is: You know what you like. You read a particular type of book, but you won’t venture into certain territories, because they are boring, or they are Not For You. You don’t “get” poetry. You only get poetry of a certain type. You only read macros on Instagram. You don’t see the point of flash fiction. Short stories are fine (but you haven’t read any all the way through in a few years). Harry Potter inspired your adoration for reading, but nothing has lived up to that thrill.

It’s basically a love song to the joys and rewards of reading indiscriminately but attentively. Check it out here. If it makes even one person take a breath and read something new and challenging, I shall be happy.


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Interview on End of All Things Podcast

A little while ago, I went down to Leeds for a reading event at Blackwells, and managed to squeeze in time to visit Manchester so I could be on one of my favourite podcasts (genuinely, not just saying this for effect). Unfortunately it was such a fleet visit that we couldn’t chat for long before I had to rush off for a connecting train but! You can listen to the full podcast here, in which Rob, the host, talks to Kate Feld about the upcoming Manchester Literature Festival as well as hearing a bit from me on Flesh of the Peach, research, and the formations of the next novel. Too little time, but great questions.


(a ghostly polaroid of West Sands, St Andrews)


In other news – I will be in St Andrews this Wednesday at Waterstones – 6.30pm. I’ll be chatting about the book and signing and I hope if you’re in the area you’ll come along and stymie me with a smart question or two. I attended the University of St Andrews and it’s always a delight to head back there. I hope to take more polaroids, spooky and otherwise.

The event is free and there will be refreshments. More details here.

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‘Stick to Me, Peel From Me’ on The Wild Hunt

A story from the newest collection I’m working on – While We Have the Light – is up on The Wild Hunt:


I have arranged my shoes in their boxes from the smallest size to the largest, around my body, which is only one size, the size it has been since I was thirteen. I am an adult now but a coiled one, waiting in this body yet to spring.


Read the full piece here.


I say it’s a story but there might be some debate over that – is it in fact a prose poem? It has a kind of narrative, but also circles around itself. Read it, and let me know what you think either here or on twitter, I’d love to know where you fall on it.

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Paperchain Podcast with Gillian Best (and Jeff Goldblum, in fictional form)


The second series of Dan Carpenter’s The Paperchain Podcast kicks off with Gillian Best (author of The Last Wave) and I, talking about our books*, identity, tea making, dog-director puns, Flamenco cakes and, yes, Jeff Goldblum. We both wrote stories to different prompts, and Gillian’s was the aforementioned Flamenco cake, and mine was Jeff Goldblum. I think the story I wrote for it was one of my best (because it’s hard not to write a good piece on the man). Make yourself a cup of tea (or coffee, but the right way…) and have a listen here.


*Flesh of the Peach is available here (worldwide) or here in the UK.

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The Day After

(credit to the Edinburgh International Book Festival and Heather McDaid for the image)


So I appeared last night at the Edinburgh International Book Festival alongside Meena Kandasamy, with the event chaired by Lee Randall. I was challenged by the high standard of engagement from Meena, Lee and the audience alike. Here’s a thoughtful piece covering the night from Heather McDaid.


Now the pressure’s off and I can just enjoy going to events myself. Ahh.


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Interview with Rebecca Smith + Edinburgh Book Festival


Make yourself a cup of tea and have a wee listen to this interview with Rebecca Smith – she asked some very thoughtful and probing questions and got me thinking hard about Flesh of the Peach in terms of sentences, plotting, grief and identity.


And a wee reminder that I will be appearing alongside Meena Kandasamy at the Edinburgh Book Festival at an event chaired by Lee Randall TOMORROW EVENING (oh my goodness, already?). Tickets are available here.


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Not the Booker Voting


The voting process for the Not the Booker award has begun in earnest. Flesh of the Peach is on the very long longlist, and needs your votes via the link I’ll include below- if you are kind enough to lend them.


Here’s how it works (copied from one of the moderators)


[yourusername] – Vote # 1 – [Book title only]*
[yourusername] – Vote # 2 – [Book title only]*

[A review of one of the two books. We’re looking for something like 100 words, give or take, but we’re very generous regarding the word count. Only one review is required, but we’d love to hear your thoughts on the second book too.]

[Anything else you want to tell us, including a review of your second book. We’ll read it all, I promise.]


*Book title only. We’d don’t need the author or publisher at this point. If you’re voting for a book included on the long list, we already know that. If you’re voting for a book not on the long list, we’re not going to read your post (or tally it) anyway.

Here are the most important rules to remember:

Vote for two and only two books, from two distinct publishers.
–Vote for two books by same publisher – discarded.
–Vote for only one book, or more than two books — discarded.
–Vote for any book not on the long list – entire vote discarded, even if one of the books is on the long list


If you vote for Flesh of the Peach I will be won over a million times. It’s a small book, and like other Freight titles has suffered from the recent troubles the press has gone through – including losing its publicity and marketing officer. I don’t want to fling my sob story at you – there are so many other small press books that could do with a boost. And that’s what this prize is for. Putting in a word for the small gems.

If you do vote, follow the guidelines so it counts. Vote for two titles from two separate publishers from the longlist And let me know? I’m going to try not to stress about it. I know I’ll be glad if the list is composed of other small press titles, things that folk should hear of. That’s the point of a prize, to highlight the good, as much as can be done.


Voting link is here, god rest ye merry gentlemen and so on. I’m going to go off and read so my heart doesn’t burst.


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