Inertia, and Prize Nomination News

There’s 27 days left to listen to my new story, ‘Inertia’ on Radio Four iPlayer. Tim McInnerny reads the story which was produced by Jeremy Osborne and first aired on Sunday night. I was at the studio recording and was simply astounded by Tim’s ability to bring the characters to life, and I felt on listening to the show on Sunday that the finished piece was very much a team effort and the whole thing came together so wonderfully. I’m incredibly proud of the result, and grateful to have been able to work with such an astounding actor, and with such a wonderful producer. It is a dystopian story but very rooted in the all too real struggles of this era in political history.

Inertia: Radio Four

I also have some news to share. My poem, ‘i am very precious’ which was originally published in Prac Crit magazine has been nominated for the Best Single Poet category for the Forward Prize this year. The awards evening will take place on September 20th. You can see the poem, my interview by Michael Conley relating to the poem, and an essay on my work by John Clegg, here:

i am very precious by Melissa Lee-Houghton

The poem also features in Salt Publishing’s Best British Poetry 2015 Anthology, edited by Emily Berry, and will be a central poem in my forthcoming collection, ‘Sunshine’ which will be published by Penned in the Margins in September.

And the list of other shortlisted poets, poems and collections is on the Forward Prize website here:

Forward Prize Shortlists/Website

Please do follow me on twitter @MLeeHoughton

Photograph by Jinez Creative from ‘Reading The Other’ at Chorlton Proof 24th May 2016



pink rose

My next poetry collection, Sunshine, is coming out in September 2016, published by Penned in the Margins, and this is my very first mention of it. Sunshine’s central poem was published here in Prac Crit: i am very precious

Sunshine explores the human condition, human frailty, erotic love and desire, harm and violence. It’s my most daring work and my most complex, so rest assured I’ve been putting in the hours, and will continue to do so over the coming year. I’m very excited and in fact utterly delighted to be working once again with my editor and publisher, Tom Chivers. The early manuscript weighed in at a meagre 113 pages so there is much editing to be done.

I wrote Sunshine whilst going through one of the most testing episodes of my life, and there are poems written on the day I was detained on a psychiatric ward, poems written on journeys I didn’t know how to disembark from, and poems I didn’t think I’d ever want anyone to see. There is a great deal at stake, more than I ever imagined could be at stake merely by writing a collection of poems, and I am already looking forward to seeing the work in print in a just over a year’s time.

In other news here is a cute picture of my Charlie from his walk this evening:


He rarely looks at the camera like this and I think you’ll all agree looks absolutely huggably gorgeous. We went to Skipton today, and I bought a Jeanette Winterson novel from Oxfam and we had Yorkshire tea in a teapot a little cafe on a side street. I’ve been feeling very exhausted lately, by thinking such a lot all the time – my concerns with writing sometimes take over and my brain becomes full up to the brim. My notebooks are consumed with to do lists I never reach the bottom of – I love it, I really do, but as I said, I feel tired, though less despondent than yesterday, when I felt truly crushed for no real reason.

I am sewing a kimono which is black crepe de chine with a pink and blue peonies print, and a pink fur bag for my daughter, which also sports a rainbow unicorn applique. This is how I unwind. I find that when I sew I can block out all other thoughts, and concentrate on the stitching, the comforting noise of the machine, the pattern instructions, pressing, pinning, cutting, designing – I don’t know where I’d be without it – and yesterday I saw a picture of my friend Sarah wearing a skirt I made for her and it lit up my day. She didn’t half look beautiful.

The light is dimming fast now and I need to draw the blinds and settle down. There is nowhere I would rather be tonight than here, home. To nightfall I go with my sleepy head and my dreams of kimonos and parrots and the smell of my son and daughter’s hair and the sound of my sewing machine happily chugging along.