Tag Archives: Queen’s Ferry Press

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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On the Edges of Vision longlisted for the Saboteur Awards

Some nice news this morning – On the Edges of Vision has been longlisted in the best short story collection category, alongside others such as Janice Galloway’s Jellyfish, Joanna Walsh’s Vertigo and Helen Oyeyemi’s What is not Yours is not Yours.

On the shortlist is Lara William’s Treats, which I read and thought was excellent, as well as Dinosaurs on Other Planets by Danielle McLaughlin, which is high on my tbr – you can see the full lists and vote for your favourites to win here.


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Interview in The Skinny

Here’s a taste:


We begin a new year with a new author. Helen McClory’s otherworldly short fiction recently won the Saltire Society First Book award, and she chats here about how her fiercely original collection On the Edges of Vision came to be born

Sometimes less is more. Anybody can describe a chair or an apple, to the finest detail perhaps. Most could even draw quite an accurate picture of one or both. And wouldn’t that be boring?

Far more intriguing is when the dimmer switch is turned down. When that everyday object or situation is seen in the half-light, that psychological dusk. Possibilities open into spaces as wide as your imagination.


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The last day of the old year

2015 has been long and full and amazing and difficult in all sorts of measures.


I went to American twice, after not having been in four years. Once for a wedding, the second time for a Kickstarted Book Tour – which you can read of here, if you haven’t already.

My first book came out in August – On the Edges of Vision. It was put out in the world by the small and lovely Queen’s Ferry Press. I’ms so very glad of everyone who has supported the book and me. If you read it, blurbed it, reviewed it, talked about it with friends (or enjoyed it silently), if you’ve been meaning to read it but haven’t yet (I understand completely!),  if you donated to the Kickstarter, or encouraged me to do it (thanks Toby and Maris!) came out to see me read in New York or Philadelphia or Athens or Atlanta or DC. If you hosted me – thank you. Thanks to Georgia and Elizabeth and Dan and Tess. Thanks Erin. Thanks to family and friends.


There’s a saying that publishing a book of poetry is like dropping a rose petal down the Grand Canyon, and waiting for the echo – and I think it’s sort of true for a collection of experimental or unusual forms like flash fiction (and prose poems). But beyond the petal-drift, the quiet of the world, there has been more of a response than I could have hoped for. In November, On the Edges of Vision won the prestigious Saltire First Book of the Year. I was completely blown away. A book barely available at the time in Scottish bookshops, winning this. I feel optimistic about where things might go from here. Hopes that the book will pick up steam and be wider read and reviewed. A new edition, perhaps. Against the odds, it’s a small echo coming back up the slopes.


It’s been a disrupted and disrupting year, in terms of health and career. I am unsure what 2016 will bring on both counts. Amongst that, I found time to read quite a few books. Some dazzling, moving, clever, poetic. Some, less so. But a good year for reading, for me. And writing too – I’ve almost finished a draft of my novel-in-progress, which I started as a witchy novella in September 2014, and decided to expand, after it was a runner up in two competitions. Close to 70,000 words are down, but I’m thinking it will be much shorter, pared to the bone. I hope to finish by October 2016. That’s the goal, anyway. Between writing and edits, it was a production year rather than a publishing one (aside from the big one!) but there were still three pieces published –


The Bohemyth – ‘What Can Be Endured May Yet Be Unbearable’

Barrelhouse – ‘Overwinternight’


and from the novel – on  3:AM Magazine – ‘A Formidable Etiquette’


What will 2016 bring?

No one can know, of course. But there are some things budding – my first novel is due out from CCM Press at the end of October. There’s the witchy novel to finish, and a new collection of flash fiction which is well under way. I hope for new work, new challenges, good health to those I love. I wish for a less violent world – a welcome for refugees, fewer people harmed. Justice and mercy and enough food and shelter and warmth with it, of both sorts. Is that too easy for me to write? Too trite? Possibly. What can any of us do, except try to keep the windows open and the politicians aware of our anger, our hunger for a kinder world.


Tonight, on Hogmanay, I hope to spend some time with friends. I hope for fireworks, but I’m still very snuffly. I hope whatever you’re doing the new year finds you well (it may have found you already, depending where you are).


Thank you for reading.

Here’s to everything we have ahead of us. The joys and pains and dull parts. The books, the sunlit spots, the snowstorms, rain, arguments, poetry, the music drifting in the window from some place across the way.

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Review of On the Edges of Vision + Translation on Penumbria

The first review of On the Edges of Vision in Spanish has appeared on Mexican literary magazine Penumbria, alongside a translation of one of the stories from the collection. Thanks so much to Miguel Lupián – and find the review here!


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What Keeps Me Writing?

I have a post up on The Story Prize Blog.


What keeps you going?
I like this question more than the more common “why do you write?”—that one brings on the urge to delve into the past, to rummage out from memory old books and kindly first readers. It optimizes for twinkly-lights nostalgia. Not always unwelcome! But the question of why one keeps going looks to the future. And there is some kinship between writing and the future, however often words are settled in their comfy past tenses, dealing with subjects now long dead.

Read More…

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Update – Where to get On the Edges of Vision

Queen’s Ferry Press, who published On the Edges of Vision, are refitting their website, so if you’d like a copy of the book (perhaps a good Christmas gift for the short fiction and macabre loving person in your life), and you’re inclined to support non-Amazon places, you can buy it from some booksellers who were kind enough to host me!

In the US, try:

Avid Books


WORD books



(all places I read on my book tour!)


OR if in the UK try:



Golden Hare Books (an Edinburgh favourite)


Know of any booksellers outside of the US and UK selling On the Edges of Vision? Let me know and I’ll put links in here.

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On the Edges of Vision wins Saltire First Book of the Year Award!



Here’s a picture where it looks like I’m singing – in fact I’m thanking everyone on the judging panel, my family and friends, and Queen’s Ferry Press (and Erin McKnight in particular). What an amazing evening – with Michel Faber justly winning both Fiction Book of the Year and Book of the Year overall, with a deeply moving speech about grief and welcome. Here’s a good article on the win, with a bit about mine and Ryan Van Winkle’s win for Poetry Book of the Year as well.





Here’s a rather blurry photo taken on the night.


If you’d like to read On the Edges of Vision, it’s available here on the publisher’s website, and there are copies in various bookshops around Scotland. I’m hoping it will be more widely available soon!


I met so many fantastic people last night, from shortlistees, publishing folk, the panel and the winners (particularly chuffed at a hug from Faber himself, and his rallying cry on short stories!). Today I’m off to buy up some newspapers with the coverage, and to recover a little from all this excitement!


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Interview up on The Skinny

Just three days until the Saltire Book Awards – ah!


Here’s an interview with me and Martin Cathcart Froden, conducted by Alan Bett.


This is what he says about my book (!)


Helen McClory has been shortlisted for the Saltire Society Scottish First Book of the Year award for her outstanding collection of short fiction, On The Edges Of Vision. Strange, brave and experimental, they reveal the monster within us all. As telling from the gaps they leave on the page as much as the words carefully sculpted upon it, these are tales told in the half-light.


Read More…


So grateful for this. And nervous for Thursday. More then.

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On the Edges of Vision Shortlisted…

…for the Saltire First Book of the Year Award!

I know I should try to play it a wee bit cool, but I really don’t think that’s possible. I am beyond thrilled. Here’s the announcement on the Society for Young Publishers website (they will also be holding a ‘shadow judging panel’) and on The Bookseller. The winners for all the different categories will be announced at a ceremony on the 26th of November. Not too long to wait – though I don’t know how much of a chance I have. I’m so so happy to have On the Edges of Vision on the shortlist.

What to do with myself?

Well, tonight is the start of the 48 hour film contest, so I’ll be with friends working on that for the next few days, and crashing out the day after. This is good. I don’t know how I slept last night, to be honest.

Cheers to everyone shortlisted for their first book – and I hope this will inspire some of you to read their work. For the big names on the Fiction book of the year too (I’d been thinking about reading Michel Faber’s latest, and hope the library will have it when I finish my current lot).

For now, tea and something sweet. I’ve been woozy for hours. My goodness!

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