PhD student Siân celebrates rediscovering her creative voice with new publication.

Posted on
Sian Hughes
Sian Hughes

Our huge congratulations to Creative Writing PhD student Siân Hughes, whose collection of poetry Sunshine & Nothing Else has just been published!

Siân said: “I’m really happy to see my second collection of poetry, Sunshine and Nothing Else, published by Cinnamon Press. The English Department at the University has made a world of difference to me since I moved home to Cheshire two years ago, welcoming me into their community of writers and encouraging my every step. My tutor Ian Seed has given me the confidence to feel like a real writer again, and to put my work out in public.”

Dr Ian Seed, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing, said: ‘Beginning with a barely perceptible nod to William Carlos Williams’s “This is Just to Say”, Sunshine assumes the voice of a mistress addressing a now-famous film director’s wife. Wielding a feminist knife, the voice slices its way through a series of brilliantly-crafted octaves. It is funny, tender and mocking by turns, yet always earthy and compelling, its many movements never striking a false note. It has the power and depth of Sylvia Plath, combined with all the wit of Rosemary Tonks.

“The second section, Nothing Else, equally commands our attention with a collection of beautifully-intertwined elegies, sweeping us into a world of mental illness, ghosts, family ancestry, extended families, hospital wards, filial and romantic love, childhood friendships, abuse, the nature of memory, loss of loved ones, and the changing nature of power in relationships over the years. It is unflinching in its honesty, refusing any kind of false solace, yet also achingly funny, and unfailingly compassionate of the self and others. Nothing Else shines its light on the darkest side of our lives. Ultimately the poetry is celebratory, giving us reasons to live with hope and love.”

Commenting on the collection, Scottish poet Kate Clanchy writes: ‘Siân Hughes’ accounts of her life as the mistress of an artist, and of the deaths of her mother and “not parents” are frank, pithy, and terrifyingly precise, sharp with tender, startling truths, nubbled with bodies and lit with love. I urge you to read them.’

Siân’s first collection, The Missing (Salt, 2009), was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, won the Seamus Heaney award for first collection, was long-listed for The Guardian first book of the year, and was shortlisted for The Forward Prize and Aldeburgh Prize. It contained among others ‘The Send-Off’, the poem that won the Arvon International Poetry Competition in 2006 and ‘Secret Lives’, winner of the TLS / Poems on the Underground competition in 1996.

She lives in her home village Tilston, on the border of England and Wales, along with some of her children. As well as working in a local pub, she teaches creative writing for mental health centres and other charities, and is currently a PhD student at the University of Chester.

You can find out more about Siân’s new collection of poetry here: