Portsmouth Darkfest


Portsmouth Darkfest, a month-long creative celebration of the supernatural has just begun. Developed in collaboration with the University of Portsmouth and the Supernatural Cities Project and Portsmouth Writers’ Hub, the series of events, including readings, talks, exhibitions, book launches and ghost tours, focuses on the supernatural associations with the city, instances of urban folklore and the city’s capacity to generate dark narratives.  For the full program of events click here.

I’m delighted to be taking part in the following events:


Aurora Front Room – ‘Into the Night’ Performance Poetry

Thursday 3rd November, 7.30-10.30 pm, Aurora Coffee Shop, Albert Road, PO5 2SJ

I’ll be reading from my novel Bodies of Water, alongside Francesca Beard, international performance poet and a host of hugely talented local poets. Includes open mic session too – turn up early if you want to perform.

FREE event, donations


Dark Victorians

Wednesday 9th November, 5.30 – 7 pm, Blackwell’s Bookshop, Cambridge Road, PO1 2EF

I’ll be participating in a talk by academics and novelists about the dark side of the Victorian life.  Local author Diana Bretherick will launch her latest novel, The Devil’s Daughters. Click here for more information or to get tickets.



Femmes Fatales Writers Workshop


Thursday 24th November, 6.30 -8.30 pm, Eldon Building, University of Portsmouth

A Portsmouth Writers Hub workshop based on an authors’ roundtable discussion about the character of the ‘femme fatale’. Feel free to dress up for the occasion!

Tickets: £5 – Available on the door


Dark City Book Launch and Printmaking Exhibition

Wednesday 30th November, 7 – 9 pm, Hunter Gatherer Café, Albert Road, PO4 0JR

Join us for the launch of Dark City, an anthology of scary Portsmouth stories by local authors. Includes an art exhibition by the Omega Printmakers. A farewell to the 2016 festival.


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Day of the Dead IV


Evil man gesturing silence, quiet isolated on black background

It’s that time of year again, when the Portsmouth writing scene prepares to welcome All Hallows’ Eve with a night of chilling tales. I’ll be reading alongside local writers and performers at the historic Square Tower, Broad Street on Sunday 30th October. Doors open 6pm. Come along if you dare.

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Created in Portsmouth Art Trail

forest-day-v-lesliewolfI’m thrilled to be taking part this year in Created in Portsmouth, an arts and crafts trail from the 14th – 16th October, 10am to 5pm. My screen-prints, copper sulphate etchings and dry-point etchings are inspired by the forest, folklore and fairy tale and will be exhibited alongside the work of coppersmith, Jenny Ames and jewellery designer, Jane Gooding at venue no. 10. The open studios programme across a variety of locations in Portsmouth, showcases the diversity of the creative arts in the city from glass artists and textile designers to papercut illustrators, photographers and blacksmiths. A great opportunity to visit the studio spaces of local artists and to acquire limited edition artwork and unique, bespoke items. To find out more about Created in Portsmouth, please visit the site, or click here for the trail map and look out for the white balls and bunting outside our venues.


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FantasyCon by the Sea


FantasyCon is upon us again, the time of year to debate and celebrate all things dark and fantastical, and this time it’s by the sea. I’m excited to be taking part in a panel, as well as reading from my debut novel Bodies of Water, which is being launched alongside Green and Pleasant Land from Black Shuck Books and This Twisted Earth from Six Minutes to Midnight. I’ll also be supporting the most recent release from Undertow Publications, Almost Insentient, Almost Divine from the brilliant D. P. Watt.


Creepin’ Up On You

Saturday, September 24 @ 10:00 am11:00 am

Royal Ballroom (Royal Hotel),

St Nicholas St

With a new wave of real life horror stories, are we running out of imaginary scares? Is reality the new horror? Paul Finch (Chair), Ramsey Campbell, Tracy Fahey, Helen Marshall, Mark West, VH Leslie

Book Launch – Great British Horror

Saturday, September 24 @ 1:00 pm2:00 pm

Habourlights (Grand Hotel),

St Nicholas Cliff

Great British Horror Book Launch Green and Pleasant Land: Great British Horror 1 – Jasper Bark, AK Benedict, Ray Cluley, James Everington, VH Leslie, Laura Mauro, Adam Millard, Simon Kurt Unsworth, Ed. Steve Shaw This Twisted Earth – Mike Chinn, Andrew Coulthard, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Ed. Dion Winton-Polak Bodies of Water – VH Leslie (Salt Publishing)

Book Launch – Undertow Publications

Saturday, September 24 @ 8:00 pm9:00 pm

Cocktail Bar (Grand Hotel),

St Nicholas Cliff

Undertow Publications Book Launch Almost Insentient, Almost Divine – DP Watt

Reading – VH Leslie and Alison Littlewood

Saturday, September 24 @ 10:00 pm10:30 pm
Reading Café (Royal Hotel)
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The Dark Magazine


I’m thrilled that my story ‘Ghost’, originally published in Skein and Bone, is included in this month’s issue of The Dark Magazine from Prime Books, alongside stories from Pear Nuallak, Stephen Graham Jones and Cassandra Khaw and edited by Sean Wallace. To get your copy, click here.

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“Omnia exeunt in mysterium.” — Arthur Machen
“We think we know the world we live in, but we don’t — we very much don’t — and stories of the supernatural and strange, of the weird and the uncanny serve as a reminder of that.” – from the Foreword by Brian J. Showers

Uncertainties is an anthology of new writing—featuring contributions from Irish, British, and American authors — each exploring the idea of increasingly fragmented senses of reality. These types of short stories were termed “strange tales” by Robert Aickman, called “tales of the unexpected” by Roald Dahl, and known to Shakespeare’s ill-fated Prince Mamillius as ‘winter’s tales’. But these are no mere ghost stories. These tales of the uncanny grapple with existential epiphanies of the modern day, and when otherwise familiar landscapes become sinister and something decidedly less than certain . . .


I’m delighted that my story, ‘The Murky’, inspired by the folklore I encountered on my recent trip to Finland is being included in this wonderful anthology, alongside a host of first-rate storytellers and edited by Brian J. Showers. Both Uncertainties Volume I and Uncertainties Volume II from Swan River Press are available now for pre-order.


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Les filles déchues de Wakewater

Bodies of water french

I’m delighted to reveal the cover art for Denoël’s French-language edition of ‘Bodies of Water’, due out next year.

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