Carmen lives and writes in the Victorian Spa town of Saltburn-by-the-Sea. As the daughter of an Irish mother and Yorkshire fisherman her writing pulls together the magical and the practical, the lyrical and the brutal. Her debut novel ‘How Saints Die’ portrays adult mental breakdown through the eyes of a child, it celebrates the resilience of imagination and won New Writing North’s Northern Promise Award 2012. She writes poetry for page and performance. She has written and performed as an atomic bomb, a Mouse Organ mouse and a medieval bra. Her writing has been described as ‘crackling dangerously with inherited magic yet achieving contemporary vitality’. Carmen has been commissioned by and performed at the Royal Festival Hall, as part of the ‘Festival of Neighbourhood’ and ‘Pull Out All the Stops’ festivals. Carmen has also performed at the Newcastle leg of the Southbank Centre’s ‘Architects of Our Republic Tour’ at Live Theatre.
Carmen is currently working on numerous projects including BBC Radio 3’s Verb New Voices commission with her project ‘The Book of Godless Verse.’
Carmen has an MA in English Literature and Language from the University of St Andrews. Her debut novel, HOW SAINTS DIE, was longlisted for both the Desmond Elliott Prize 2018 and The Kitchies Golden Tentacle award for debut fiction (sponsored by Blackwell’s). Her work can be described as fairytales with their teeth intact and in the words of her original critic and primary school teacher ‘weird, minus one house-point’.