Hilaire McLiesh

I am a freelance creative writer with a keen interest in local history, community and urban nature. Poetry collection London Undercurrents, co-authored with Joolz Sparkes, published by Holland Park Press in 2019. Poetry and short stories published in numerous magazines and anthologies, including Best British Short Stories 2021 from Salt Publishing. One of three judges for the 2021 Manchester Fiction Prize, reading hundreds of short stories to arrive at the overall winner of the £10,000 prize. Member of The Battersea Society’s Heritage Committee.
Recent workshops delivered include a found text poetry workshop with Year 6 at St Mary's RC Primary School, Battersea; plant-based poetry workshop for Pocket Arts/New Covent Garden Market; and poetry taster workshops at Battersea Park Library.

London (Greater London)

found ~ flow ~ flux project commissioned by Wandsworth Council in March 2022. Delivered three workshops for local residents, combining walking and writing to create found text poems responding to changes in the local area. Compiled and edited the poems, which were published as a free booklet at the end of August
Wrote the introduction to, and helped edit and proofread, Inspiring Women of Battersea by Jeanne Rathbone, published by The Battersea Society, 2022
indoors looking out (collaboration with artist Stephen Graham) published by lower case press 2020
The Red Suitcase published by Nightjar Press 2020
London Undercurrents (co-authored with Joolz Sparkes) published by Holland Park Press 2019
Triptych Poets Issue One published by Blemish Books 2010
Hearts on Ice published by Serpent's Tail 2000

Books, Poetry, Short story

Dougie Blake spotted the suitcase first, at the top of the cul-de-sac, a red suitcase punching through the grey afternoon. He watched the woman approach. Although she wore flat shoes, she teetered on the icy pavement, unbalanced by the impractical red suitcase.

‘Mother!’ he called, without turning away from the window. ‘Looks like we have a guest.’

Usually, the home-stay guests arrived in summer. They were hardy young women, mostly, with rucksacks on their backs, tanned calves and sunny dispositions. This one was different, paler even than most of the locals. Her coat was ill-fitting, broad across the shoulders, gaping at the neck. She needed a hat and a scarf, Dougie thought. The net curtains on both sides of the cul-de-sac shivered as she passed.

Behind him, his mother scuttled about, tidying the already tidy sitting room. The woman stopped in front of their cottage and checked a scrap of paper from her coat pocket. Dougie held himself still, barely breathing, veiled by the net curtain. The woman glanced to her left and to her right, bit down on her bottom lip, and then rapped twice on the knocker.

from The Red Suitcase, published by Nightjar Press 2020