dead fern press

an online literary journal
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"See, I really didn’t want to be cast in that off-off-off-Broadway production of the meta-musical version of Oedipus, entitled Motherfucker. But I auditioned anyway. And never got a callback."

Wynward H. Oliver- Feeling It

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History of Present Complaint | HLR


After a traumatic psychotic episode, a nameless young woman recounts past psychiatric crises in an attempt to make sense of her present and fight for her future.


A genre-defying debut collection of prosetry, History of Present Complaint reveals the devastating reality of living with chronic mental illness. HLR writes of the human experience in her distinctive style: knock-out blows of blistering truths are tempered with shots of sardonic British humour, and the lines between fact and fiction, safety and danger, sanity and insanity are blurred beyond recognition through her bold poetry and sharp prose. History of Present Complaint is a damning depiction of under-funded public mental health services and serves a vital role in giving a voice to the voiceless, shining a light on the darkest corners of the human condition and forcing the reader to see what has been there all along.


A brutal and beautiful work exploring mental illness, grief, suffering and mortality, History of Present Complaint will appeal to fans of Plath’s The Bell Jar, Juliet Escoria’s Black Cloud and 4.48 Psychosis by Sarah Kane.

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“Perhaps some day I'll crawl back home, beaten, defeated. But not as long as I can make stories out of my heartbreak, beauty out of sorrow.”
                                                                               ― Sylvia Plath