Mary-Jane Holmes

“The verses come alive in the accretion of telling details” Jane Harris

” I would say the poems are looking for the point at which the physical, social, human existence can be heard or observed without the writer’s bias being an interference-which, of course, it cannot but be. But it’s the dislocating effort to find that point, thrilling and at the same time strenuous, that gives these poems their particular sheen of perception, very finely-calibrated, and their muscularity, their sculpted force. Greatly impressive.” Seamus Deane

Mary-Jane Holmes is a writer, teacher and editor dividing her time between the UK, Ireland, Spain and the Tex-Mex border of the USA. Since 2009 she has been chief editor of Fish Publishing, a publishing house dedicated to supporting emerging writers and is the director of the creative writing program at the retreat and writing centre: Casa Ana, Spain.  She is also editorial consultant at The Well Review, an international poetry journal based in Cork, Ireland that has published poets such as Anne Carson, Vona Groarke, Matthew Sweeney and John Burnside and guest editor at  V.Press 

She has just become a tutor at RetreatWest where she will be running a memoir in flash course, an intensive flash weekend of prompts and feedback and generally having lots of fun.

She completed a masters in creative writing at Kellogg College, Oxford with distinction, has been accepted as a Hawthornden Fellow in 2019 . In October 2019, Mary-Jane will start a creative writing Phd at Newcastle University. Her supervisors are Sinéad Morrissey, Bill Herbert and Tara Bergin.  Her debut poetry collection is published by Pindrop Press


In 2019, Mary-Jane has read in Madrid at Desperate Literature book shop and run a workshop at the Swaledale Festival, North Yorkshire, ran workshops at the Flash Fiction Festival, Bristol  and Malham Tarn Field Centre. She will be running a workshop in Geneva with the Geneva Writing Group on 20th October and facilitating the Casa Ana Writing retreat in November – for more information go to Writing Retreat

back cover


Publications and Competitions


Flock published in Fictive Dream Flock

Down the Long Long Line published by FlashBack Fiction

Hawthornden Fellow. September

Flash Fiction published in The Cabinet of Heed: A Girl’s Guide to Frog Gigging

Flash Fiction published in Spelk Fiction:

Anomaly Review Issue 28 Translation of 11th Century Andalusian poet Ibn Arfa’ Ras’uh

Winner of the 2018 Mslexia Flash Fiction Competition

Second Prize: Doolin Poetry Competition

Accepted by Newcastle University as a PhD student in creative writing starting 2019. Supervisors are Bill Herbert, Tara Bergin and Sinéad Morrissey


Shortlisted for the Magma Poetry Journal Changeling Issue

Longlisted for the Poetry Book Society and Myslexia Women’s Poetry Competition 2018.

Application to be a Hawthornden Fellow accepted for 2019

Translation of Hungarian poet Margit Kaffka: Modern Poetry in Translation

Modern Poetry in Translation Journal – Translation of Latvian poet, VIZMA BELŠEVICAOffspring


A winner of The Best Small Fictions Anthology 2018. Best Small Fictions Listed as one of the most anticipated books of 2018: BSF Most Anticipated List

Recent essay on poetry can be read here: Love the Blank Page

Disciplining the Modern Satyr shortlisted in the  Five Word International Poetry competition and is published in the Five Words XI Anthology.  Mary-Jane will be reading at Ó Bhéal, Cork later in October.

Work published in Ash Magazine



Winner of the Bridport Prize for Poetry: testimonial

First Prize in the Bedford International Poetry Prize

Winner of the Martin Starkie Prize for Poetry

Shortlisted for the Doolin Poetry Prize

Commended in the Settle Poetry Prize

Shortlisted for the Penfro Poetry Prize

Nominated for a Forward Prize

Weather Vane published in Flash Fiction Magazine Here:

Letter from a Mercury Prospector to His Wife in the Durham Dales. 1904 published in Myslexia Issue 76

Reflex Fiction: Postpartum


Published in Best Small Fictions 2016 edited by Tara Masih and Stuart Dybeck. Review can be found here:

Shortlisted for Bridport Poetry Prize

Work published in Lute and Drum poetry journal

Work Published in The Oxonian


Flash Fiction published in The Tishman Review

Flash Fiction published in The Lonely Crowd

Flash Fiction published in The Incubator

Short Story published in Prole Literary Journal

Triptych published in The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts

Flash Fiction published in JMWW Journal

Flash Fiction published in Firewords Quarterly

Long listed for the Kathy Fish Fellowship


Winner of the Dromineer Prize for Fiction

Shortlisted for the Bridport Prize for Flash Fiction

Interviews and comments:

Lemn Sissay’s judges report for Bridport 2017 : The winning poem is ‘Siren Call’.  I am drawn to a bleak coastal town. I am drawn by sound. It is like a short film.  Unsentimental.  Brutal even.  The writer draws us to sound from the outset.   I am lured into listening. Through aural sensation the picture unfolds.   It has all the detail of La Cite Des Enfants Perdus.  Listen as the writer instructs “no not the familiar sounds”.  The writer shakes the reader from complacency and into a Sirens Call.  There’s a confidence of line. I am hypnotized  by The Siren Call.

On Writing ‘Covenant’