Disturbingly and darkly beautiful...Not to be missed'—Jane Yolen
'Claire has the gift of making the ordinary very sinister, and the extraordinary uncomfortably real'—Robert Shearman
‘Wonderfully told stories of flight and flood, of limitation and transformation... in turn foreboding and life-affirming’—Carys Bray
of Shadows and Reflections
A short story collection with illustrations by Laura Rae
Originally published as a limited edition hardback 2016. A paperback is now available.
Short stories in anthologies
'Feeding the Peat' in Uncertainties IV, ed. Timothy Jarvis (Swan River Press, 2020)
'Leonora, Fly!' in Leonora Carrington: Living Legacies, eds. Ailsa Cox, James Hewison, Michelle Man, Roger Shannon (Vernon Press, 2019)
'Lichen Storey' in An Invite to Eternity, eds. Marian Womack and Gary Budden (Calque Press, 2019)
'People Watching' in Thought X, eds. Ra Page & Rob Appleby (Comma Press, 2017)
'Is-and', reprinted in The Best British Short Stories 2017, ed. Nicholas Royle (Salt)
‘Is-and’ in Dead Letters, ed. Conrad Williams (Titan Books, 2016)
‘Voice Marks’ in Spindles: Stories from the Science of Sleep, eds. Ra Page & Penny Lewis (Comma Press, 2015)
'Making Sandcastles' in Beta-Life, eds. Ra Page & Martyn Amos (Comma Press, 2015)
'Glass, Bricks, Dust' reprinted in The Best British Short Stories 2014, ed. Nicholas Royle (Salt)
'Glass, Bricks, Dust' in New Fairy Tales, eds. John Patrick Pazdziora and Defne Çizakça (Unlocking Press, 2013)
'Into the Penny Arcade', reprinted in The Best Horror of the Year Volume 5, ed. Ellen Datlow (Nightshade Books, 2013)
'Marionettes', reprinted in The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror Volume 24, ed. Stephen Jones (Constable & Robinson, 2013)
'In the dressing room mirror' in Still (Negative Press, 2012) ed. Roelof Bakker
'Bird Doll' in The Screaming Book of Horror, ed. Johnny Mains (Screaming Dreams Press, 2012) .
'Harness & leash for a fly' in The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities, eds. Ann and Jeff VanderMeer (Harper Voyager, 2012)
'A Secret Herbarium' in letterpress art book Type: A Collection made by SJ Bradley at The Print Project (2012)
'Booklovers' in Quickies, a Flashtag Manchester anthology (2011)
'For the true anatomy' in Murmurations: An Anthology of Uncanny Stories about Birds, ed. by Nicholas Royle (Two Ravens Press, 2011)
'Feather Girls' reprinted in The Best British Short Stories 2011, ed. Nicholas Royle (Salt, 2011)
River Tours: The Lune
Writing commission for Lancaster Arts with Stan's Cafe and Sewing Café Lancaster: an outdoor theatrical tour of the river Lune performed by Orla Cottingham alongside a stunning collaborative map of the Lune by the Sewing Café. I wrote a blog about the experience of researching and writing for this 2022 project here.
The Stone King
Commission for Lancaster Litfest and Lancaster City Council: 'The Stone King' is a new fairy for all ages inspired by the landscape and history of Lancaster's Williamson Park. I read the story in locations around the park as part of Litfest 2012. 'The Stone King' was released as an audio storywalk for Litfest in spring 2020.
Commission for Chapel Gallery's Festival of Tales: 'The Two Sisters' is a tale inspired by Norse myth and magic and the landscape and heritage of Lancashire town, Ormskirk. The story was commissioned for a 2017 festival in the town that included storybook window installations, performances and community workshops.
Preston 3Twenty commission for They Eat Culture & Preston Guild: 'Gold Threads' follows a woman as she recounts the lost streets and buildings of Preston that form a ghost map given to her by her father. The story was commissioned as part of Preston Guild 2012 along with stories by David Gaffney and Richard Evans. The stories were available as an audio trail during the Guild week and performed live in locations around Preston city centre.
Blog North commission for Openstories and Manchester Literature Festival: 'Pomona Fair' is a story about the tales we tell and those we don't, and a giant. It's inspired by Manchester's mysterious Pomona Island. The story was commissioned to be performed at the 2014 Blog North Awards
Making a Breath
Re/Place commission for Chorlton Arts Festival: ‘Making a Breath’ is a story inspired by the legendary Manchester animation studio Cosgrove Hall. The site-specific commission was part of a six-writer project about ghost places and the re-appropriation of spaces. I read the story along with Sarah Butler, Sarah-Clare Conlon, Kate Feld, David Gaffney and Nicholas Royle as part of Chorlton Arts Festival 2015.
The Word Dress for Lancaster Litfest: 'A Book Tale' is a contemporary fairy tale for adults inspired by the post-industrial Lancashire landscape. The story features a dress of moorland grass, another of smoke and feathers and one made from the pages of old books. I read the story in a specially commissioned dress made from seven copies of Angela Carter's Book of Fairy Tales as part of Litfest 2010.
Stories in the wild
'The Weeder Woman' and 'The Scarecrow and the Boy' are two wonder tales commissioned for National Trust's Clumber Park Walled Kitchen Garden. The stories were included in design researcher Liz Edwards' Listening Orchard and were inspired by the history and planting of the garden, local folklore and its staff and visitors.
'Mrs H and the Seed Rain' was written for Lancaster University's Entangled Festival and distributed as a plantable seed paper chapbook from the festival hub in Morecambe Bay.
'We are riverish' was written for Lancaster University's Ensemble project, printed on water-soluble paper, and left to be found alongside river banks in Lancaster, UK and Angers, France.
Stories in print magazines and journals
'The Night Owl' in Issue 1 of Cutaway Magazine.
'Moth Light' in Issue 5 of Magpie Magazine.
'Grandma's House' in Patricide 03 Surrealism and the Uncanny.
'The Sand Ship' in Issue 7 of A cappella Zoo and reprinted in Issue 10, Bestiary: The Best of A cappella Zoo.
'The Woman Who Wore Frost Slippers' in Issue 1 of Unsettling Wonder.
'Casting Ammonites' in Shadows and Tall Trees 5.
Articles and essays
'In the forest, stories grow: writing uncanny fiction with fairy tales' in Writing the Uncanny (Dead Ink Books, 2021)
'Four Rules for Sandwriting' for The Writing Platform
'Writing for the improbable bookshelf' for The Bookseller's Future Book