Welcome to the website of the
writer Mairi MacInnes
From TLS December 21 & 28 2012
Amazing Memories of Childhood
Riding back from hounds that afternoon,
having lost the hunt and all its followers to fog,
including George, my George, on his bicycle:
Ignorant of where I was, or whom to ask,
everyone warm and indoors by the fire,
and sure I was a fool, nine years old, still ignorant,
my pony clattering under me aware
how much a fool I was: when a man loomed
out of the dark, I asked the way of him
and he pointed with his stick, as if it were obvious.
And so we jogged and walked and jogged,
another hour, till we were on the green.
Half a mile more and there was my home
stiff in its brick wall the stable in the yard,
fodder in the manger, harness off, her blanket on,
then lights, voices, warmth, some milk.
I took my boots off, fell upon my bed and slept.
And when I awoke, it was to find
someone had covered me and I was warm.
I am older by far than ever he became
yet the crack and jostle of the planks
under his wheels are with me still and so too
the splintering of the railings on one side
and the awful splash that afternoon
when he drove off the wooden bridge
into the swollen tide of the estuary and drowned
on the way to Seaton Carew—
though he came back in the time for the news,
whistling, and carefully put away the car
as if the shouts and slammed doors at lunchtime
had never happened, as if
the wooden bridge on the way to Seaton Carew
would never need to be replaced,
or he'd not go on to other cars on other roads
and as if he would live for every.
"Clearances‘… relationship to person and landscape in MacInnes’ key subject, her yardstick, and she has to give it a shape in thought, has to make ‘Life and the memory of it’ turn ‘into each other’. Clearances: A Memoir achieves this literary transformation with such underrated skill, such feeling for the subtleties of the low road taken, that her writing comes to exemplify the only apparently simple understanding that ‘to make things happen, you have to go away.’" - Peter Robinson, The Reader
Brief Biography: Mairi MacInnes was born in 1925 in County Durham and educated in Yorkshire and at Somerville College, Oxford. In 1954 she married the American scholar and writer John McCormick and went to live with him in West Berlin, then an enclave in Communist East Germany, and from 1959 to 1988 in America, except for years in Mexico and Spain. She and her husband now live in York, England. Widowed in 2010, she now lives in York, England.
Awards and Fellowships
Doctor of the University of York (D.Univ.) honoris causa
National Endowment in the Arts Fellowship
New Jersey Arts Fellowship
Ingram-Merrill Foundation Fellowship
Witter Brynner Fellowship
On this website you will find instances and reviews of her work. Her publications, including the recent Clearances: a Memoir, her latest poetry collection, The Girl I Left Behind Me, and other books can be purchased from: