2016/2017 Readings


With Sunshine coming out in September I’ll be reading at a number of events, with more tbc. Here is a quick listing for anyone who would like to come along to these, to support, buy a book, or hear me read my new work:

Saturday 17th September 2016Poetry Book Fair, London 8.30pm

Tuesday 20th September 2016Forward Prize Event, London:

Forward Prize Book Tickets For Event

Wednesday 28th September 2016Anthony Burgess Centre, Manchester, 7pm, Penned in the Margins Launch with Luke Kennard:

Anthony Burgess Launch Book Tickets

Saturday 8th October 2016Bad Language/Manchester Literature Festival @Anthony Burgess Centre, Manchester, 7.30pm (with Henry Normal, Mark Pajak and Genevieve Walsh):

Bad Language/Manc Lit Fest Tickets

Sunday 9th October 2016Cheltenham Festival with Luke Kennard 8.30-9.45pm Little Big-Top:

Cheltenham Festival Tickets

Saturday 15th OctoberDurham Book Festival (panel discussion on mental health with poetry readings) 2-3pm Empty Shop HQ

Bobby Parker & Melissa Lee-Houghton Festival Tickets

Sunday 19th February 2017Birmingham Waterstones Spoken Word Festival ‘Verve: A Birmingham Festival of Poetry and Spoken Word’ 7-9pm Reading with Luke Kennard (plus, daytime workshop, more info soon)

Thursday 23rd February 2017Pighog, Brighton (erotic poetry)

I will add further details as they arrive. If anyone would like to book me for a reading please contact me at melissaleehoughton@hotmail.co.uk to discuss.


Northern Writers’ Awards Winners 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.