Hello, I’m Helen McCarthy. You can contact me on this blog, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Other Helen McCarthys are available from other providers. There are a lot of us about, including a history PhD in Cambridge, a local historian in Gloucestershire, an aboriginal artist in Australia, a Disney Imagineer in the States, a law professor in Belfast and a winemaker Down Under. But you clicked this page because you want to know more about me, not my interesting namesakes, so here’s a brief and incomplete history. (I’m a work in progress, though sometimes progress seems the wrong word … )
I write and talk about Japanese animation, comics and pop culture. If you click here it’ll take you to a slideshow of my book covers. I also design needlework and make clothes – I’ve loved researching and re-creating historical dress since I was a little girl. I was born in a large, noisy, creative Irish immigrant family in a small town in the North of England, and educated in a convent by a wonderful and terrifying French order of nuns. My grandmother taught me to embroider when I was four years old. Then, I just loved creating beauty. Now, I see counted thread embroidery as a logical crossover point between ancient craft traditions and the mass-production aesthetic that permeates even ‘fine’ art today.
I still remember the thrill of realising that I could actually read by myself. According to my mother, that was just before my third birthday. I was about ten when I realised I could read for the rest of my life and never run out of books – a fact that continues to give me the most enormous satisfaction. I first became aware of science fiction and fantasy as distinct genres around the same time, and this eventually led me into the world of conventions and conrunning, a much more demanding, but less irrational and more humane, form of teamworking than is generally found in business or public service.
I was a teenager when I first visited London and fell in love with the city. I now live there with my partner, an artist. We jointly maintain a home for fallen books, toys and films, and rarely turn away needy cases, even though our house (which aspires to be a shoebox when it grows up) is bursting at the seams. Despite being within sight of the glittering towers of the financial district, we’re on the edge of a park and are regularly visited by squirrels, magpies, finches of all colours, hedgehogs, foxes and even, on one memorable occasion, a badger.
When not working, I love to read, cook, eat, talk and travel.
Now you’re here, look around. You can find out where to see me, and read about my workshops and talks, on other pages. You can buy my books here if you like, via links to Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk on the “Books & Articles” page, or in any good bookshop. I don’twant to twist your arm, but if you buy anything through these on-page links, Amazon gives me some of your money.
If you don’t want to buy, borrowing my books from your local library might earn me a payment under Public Lending Right. Every time you borrow a library book that’s in copyright, in the UK and several other countries, the author gets paid – just one of many good reasons to support your local library.