about me

Hello and welcome! I’m Claire HM (she/they), a teacher, poet, storyteller and a writer of working-class magic, living in my hometown of Birmingham, UK. And I’ve got an invitation for you:

I invite you to make stories that you’ve been made to feel there’s no place for.

My novella How to Bring Him Back was published by Fly on the Wall press in October 2021. Set in 90s Birmingham subculture, it is 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 entrenched 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.

The alchemy of spell casting and story making is very important to me.

I’m a self-proclaimed hag -think of the term as ‘witch plus’ – claiming my emerging crone-hood and the surface ugliness of the experiences that I write about.

I channel my creativity through writing as an act of self healing, and this is an invitation for others to create the stories they need to access healing too.

I write about identity within ‘othered’ perspectives, desire and consent, reclamation of femmes and sorceresses from Classical mythologies, and the politics and privilege of class and language. Most of all, I delight in exploring the taboo – there is a magical charge in writing about that which the dominant culture tells us is not a suitable subject. Spell work and magic for healing is one way that I write, but I use it too to examine my own privileges and moral failings too. Not to self-flagellate in a way that my Catholic upbringing attempted to train me for, and not even just to ruminate about blame in personal relationships.

What I’m really curious about in my writing right now is examining the ways that I benefit from power structures. And once this is noticed, it’s a form attention that’s akin to spell work.

It trains me to act differently, to align my actions to the change and social justice for marginalised groups that so many of us want to see in the world right now.

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. 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).

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 and interviews published online. I’ve also written a poetry pamphlet Ask Those Birds that takes the motif of birds, and other winged creatures, to chart a journey of self acceptance through a piecing together of a personal mythology of desire. I hope to find a publisher for these poems in 2021. I believe in the writing and what it represents, and that’s the first step.

Now, do you remember my invitation to you?

I invite you to make stories that you’ve been made to feel there’s no place for.

And why did I invite you? I promise it wasn’t just so you would read my introduction, my poetry, my novella ~ though of course I’d be honoured if you did. Stories aren’t fully complete without the attention of a reader. I invite you to make and listen to stories that you’ve been made to feel there is no place for, so that we can heal and release.

Let’s allow our stories to make us anew in political consciousness that leads to action, and an emerging sense of our own wholeness.

This is the magic I have found.

I wish this magic for you.

I wish this magic for all of us.

with so much love, Claire xx

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