Clare Best

Clare Best has always lived closely with words: she has been a bookbinder, a bookseller and an editor. She has taught Creative Writing for Brighton University and for the Autobiography and Life Writing Programme, and  been an Open University Associate Lecturer since 2005. She has held residencies in settings as various as Woodlands Organic Farm in Lincolnshire, HMP Shepton Mallet, a town on the shore of Lake Maggiore in Italy, and at Brighton University.

Clare’s poetry has been published since 2002 in a range of literary magazines including Poetry News, The Rialto, Magma, The North, The London Magazine, Envoi, Smiths KnollAgenda, Resurgence and in many anthologies. Poems have been broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and on BBC Radio Lincolnshire. Her first full collection, Excisions, was shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize. She has performed her autobiographical poem cycle Self-portrait without Breasts around the UK and Ireland and in Boston and Toronto. 

Springlines (Little Toller 2017) is part of Clare’s collaborative project with the painter Mary Anne Aytoun-Ellis, exploring hidden and mysterious bodies of water across the South Country of England. Springlinesexhibitions have been mounted at Glyndebourne (2015), Tunbridge Wells Museum & Art Gallery (2017) and St Barbe Museum in Lymington (2018).

Clare’s most recent book is her prose memoir, The Missing List (Linen Press 2018). 

Her special interests are landscape writing, life narratives, and writing the body. She lives near the Suffolk coast, with her husband and dog. And a lot of books.

Poetry publications:

  • Springlines, Little Toller Books, 2017
  • CELL, Frogmore Press, 2015
  • ExcisionsWaterloo Press, September 2011 (hear 'Prognosis', from Excisionshere)
  • Breastless, Pighog Press, 2011
  • Treasure Ground, HappenStance, 2010 (hear the title poem from Treasure Groundhere)