On her own website, Katie Hales confesses to having her “fingers in a lot of arts-related pies,” which is a suitably down-to-earth description for the poet, lyricist, blogger, freelance journalist, educator and, most recently, debut-novelist.
Born in Cumbria, Hales graduated with an Mlitt in creative writing (poetry) from the University of St Andrews in 2013, having already won a string of awards for her poetry. Her poetry pamphlet, Breaking the Surface, was published by Flipped Eye in 2017, and her chapbook, Assembly Instructions, will be published by Southword in March 2019. She recently won the Buzzwords Poetry Prize, the Jane Martin Poetry Prize and the Ware Poetry Prize. Her musical, The Inevitable Quiet of the Crash, co-written with composer Stephen Hyde, premiered at Edinburgh Fringe in August 2017, to 5 star reviews.
After taking part in Penguin Random House’s inaugural WriteNow scheme in 2018, Hales has now published her first novel My Name is Monster. Taking inspiration from classic tales Robinson Crusoe and Frankenstein, My Name is Monster is a novel about power, about the things that society leaves imprinted on us when the rules no longer apply, and about the strength and the danger of a mother’s love.
After the Sickness has killed off her parents, and the bombs have fallen on the last safe cities, Monster emerges from the arctic vault which has kept her alive. When she washes up on the coast of Scotland, everyone she knows is dead, and she believes she is alone in an empty world. Having slowly rebuilt her life, she finds a girl: feral, and ready to be taught all that Monster knows. Changing her own name to Mother, Monster names the child after herself. As young Monster learns from Mother, she also discovers her own desires, realising that she wants very different things to the woman who made, but did not create, her.
Hales is the co-founder of a guerrilla poetry organisation, which promotes the work of emerging artists. She is currently working on a first full collection of poetry, for which she received a Developing Your Creative Practice grant from Arts Council England.