about me

Hello and welcome! I’m Claire HM (she/her) a storyteller, teacher and a writer of working-class magic, living in my hometown of Birmingham, UK.

My novella How to Bring Him Back is published by Fly on the Wall press. Set in 90s Birmingham subculture, it’s a story framed by a spell to let go of the past. It follows Cait, fresh out of university but living in a bedsit and working in a bar she hates. She’s still as rooted in poverty and lack of opportunity as she ever was in her council estate beginnings, as she stumbles between two men, drifting further from the things she wants. Do not read this if you are offended by blackout drinking, outdoor sex, gratuitous use of word f*ck and the possibility of magic in the mundane. Otherwise, you can read more about How to Bring Him Back here.

My writing explores love, longing and Birmingham at unlikely intersections of class, gender, magic and mythologies. In particular, my Gentlewomen of Brummagem monologues reclaim femmes and sorceresses from Classical mythologies, to explore gender and the politics and privilege of class and language. You can see me performing some of them here at my local arts night, Erdington Evening of Creativity.

I also write within a framework of magic, taking the forms of spell casting, earth-based spirituality, cartomancy, channelling and astrology.  I see ‘magical thinking’ as a form of cultural resistance, where cries of ‘be rational’ are used to deny people the authority of their intuition and lived experience. I’ve run several ritual based poetry workshops through She Howls with Dal Kular, and even had a book launch as ritual event (it was an experimental workshop to write a group poem as a ‘letting go’ ritual, for the launch of my novella).

It’s taken me a while to get here, though. I’ve been submitting my writing to journals and publishers since 1997. There was often positive response to my writing style and insight, alongside feedback from well meaning mentors that if I wanted to see my work in print I’d have to change what I was writing about to suit the markets out there. What I realise now is that when I was writing about women like me, my writing often wasn’t middle class enough to find a publisher.

So, after a hiatus of many years of self-doubt, I had an essay published in the anthology, I Wrote it Anyway, about my experience of accessing university and the long journey of finding the confidence to write as a woman in her forties from a working-class background. (You can read it here). And since then I’ve had a growing sense of confidence and purpose in my identity as a writer of working-class magic.

I’ve had poetry published in Black Flowers Literary Journal, streetcake 68 +72, Mooky Chick, Coven Journal and in Cape Magazine. I keep a page here that links to my writing, recordings and interviews published online.

As a working class writer I have a day job working with Friction Arts where I offer my administrative skills to help deliver creative projects which centre advocacy of arts for social and cultural change, celebration and joy. As a teacher I am growing workshops that centre writing as ritual using astrology, tarot and channelling, and developing my role as a facilitator who holds space for magic to happen.

In my writing life, I’m currently conjuring the sequel to How to Bring Him Back and continuing to allow the creation of stories rooted in intersections of class, gender and magic to make me anew in political consciousness, and an emerging sense of my own wholeness. It’s my hope that you’ll find some of that here too.

with so much love, Claire xx

Sign up to Charms and Incantations to receive monthly-ish emails about my latest publications, ideas on how to write your own magic, updates on how you can work with me, magical discounts and a freebie or two as a blessing for your support.