Helen McClory from Edinburgh can’t make it to our indieberlin book fair on November 7th, but she will be on the Literophone — she will be one of several poets and flash fictionistas available for a phone call from our very special fluffy booth in the back of the bar. You should learn much more about her… She is one to watch. Only recently she won a fresh publishing contract with Civil Coping Mechanisms, a glamorous indie small press.
indieberlin: You won the CCM contest (congrats!). Tell us more…
Helen McClory: Thanks! My novel Flesh of the Peach is coming out with the press towards the end of next year. It’s about an English woman who is trying to make a go of life as an immigrant in America, as an artist and as a decent human being and failing at all of those. It’s told in short flash-length chapters and brims over with bad memories and good, and strange and sometimes mournful encounters in the American South-West and New York City. You can read an extract of the book (and the other two winners) here.
indieberlin: What is the latest with you?
Helen McClory: This summer I funded a short tour in the US through Kickstarter, so I took my first collection, On the Edges of Vision from Boston to Atlanta. It was a fantastic experience full of cool people, bars, and bookshops – though threw my life through a loop and now I’m in chilly Edinburgh,hunting for a job to make up for the one I lost while off gallivanting. And I just heard that On the Edges of Vision has been shortlisted for the Saltire First Book Award – I’m still in shock from that.
“They are all on the theme of monstrousness and identity”
indieberlin: You’ll be on the literophone. What will it be?
Helen McClory: I’ll be reading some prose poetry pieces from On the Edges of Vision. They are all on the theme of monstrousness and identity.
indieberlin: What would you say to aspiring new authors?
” It’s a cliché, but read everything you can – read outside your comfort zone”
Helen McClory: It’s a cliché, but read everything you can – read outside your comfort zone. Read weird books of theory. Read books in translation no one’s ever heard of. Pay attention to what small presses are doing (they’re full of new forms). Accept that you probably won’t get published right away. Endless hoping and waiting for emails to come is just going to wear you out. Put all your energy into bettering the work and reading as much as you are able. Volunteer for a literary journal. Make friends on twitter but don’t let it gnaw you like a bone. Go for walks to clear your head. Just roll up your sleeves and try and fail and all that, pretty much forever.
indieberlin: What do you hope for in the future?
Helen McClory: The betterment of my writing and a readership for that writing. It’s the only way the text comes to life, by passing through the eyes of readers, and on into their blood.
Buy the Book on Queen’s Ferry Press
Helen McCory was interviewed by Polly Trope for indieberlin.
The first ever indieberlin book fair / literary wonderland takes place on the 7th November in Posh Teckel, Pflügerstrasse 4. 2-6 is more aimed at authors (B2B) and from 6pm onwards is readings, live music, DJ, and eventual oblivion.