Welcome to my website. My name is Helen Collerton, and I write contemporary literary fiction, poetry, and essays. I also work full-time as a freelance executive producer, making commercials, short films, and documentaries for channels, charities, and brands.
My debut novel ‘Waking’ was published in October 2017. I am currently writing my second novel ‘Lines’, and a non-fiction book on motherhood and postpartum.
Ever since I was a child, I have found solace, inspiration, insight, and joy, through reading and writing. Growing up, I surrounded myself with modern literature, and wrote stories or poetry at every available opportunity. Through books I was able to immerse myself in experiences, cultures, and emotions that were otherwise inaccessible, or totally separate from my own life. Books took me to wonderful and terrible places in equal measure, and filled my head with alternative ways of seeing, with other people’s opinions and tastes, with our many disparate motives and desires – the world seen through a thousand different lenses. This helped me understand how little each of us can really understand the world, how much we can learn from each other, and that we must remember to take ourselves with a pinch of salt!
My passion for reading and writing, led me to study English Literature & Language at University College London, where I discovered and fell in love with the classical, canonical works that developed and underpinned my understanding of the contemporary work I had grown up loving. I loved discovering literature in a kind of reverse order; the classical approach of my degree helped me to uncover the seeds and roots that had grown the leaves and branches I could already see. It was also the beginning of a long love affair with London, where I still live today.
I graduated and began working in the film and television industry. I also continued to write every day, holding onto a distant but clear horizon goal of authorship.
I have travelled all over the world with my work, and found myself in many weird and wonderful situations. I spent two months in the states, travelling the length of the Mississippi River with Sir Trevor McDonald. We explored incredible pockets of America that many visitors don’t get to see, recording music inside the world-famous Sun Studios in Memphis, spending an unforgettable night with Morgan Freeman in his Mississippi Delta hometown, and canoeing across the glassy, placid lake waters at the northern source of the river.
For two years, I produced films for Johnnie Walker whisky, as part of their McLaren Formula One sponsorship, filming with Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, and Mika Hakkinen, at some of the most exciting races on the circuit. I travelled to Monaco, Singapore, New Delhi, and Shanghai, filming McLaren supercars on the legendary Monte Carlo streets, exploring Singapore’s iconic architecture, and interviewing Bollywood stars beside the Red Fort at sunset. I also managed to enjoy some of the races – the F1 circuit is a crazy place!
Since then, I have created work for Mazda on the beautiful southern coast of Spain, spent time in Budapest making films with a group of world-class Hungarian skateboarders, and scaled the exquisite snowy peaks of the Swiss alps with Sir Richard Branson for Virgin Media Business.
I enjoy the variety and intensity of my work, collaborating closely with a group of people all united under one common creative aim. As any voyeur/writer will understand, I love observing the unexpected situations I find myself in, and the deep, under-the-skin way you get to know a place when you are filming there. I’ve been a guest at a family wedding in St. Louis, watched the Monaco Grand Prix from a yacht overlooking that famous corner, been hit in the face by a perfectly-aimed snowball from Sir Richard Branson, and witnessed enough exquisite sunrises to make the early starts almost worthwhile!
Throughout this developing career, I have continued to write. I have found the combination of producing and writing compliment each other brilliantly. My work as a producer has helped me to understand the tensions that exist within every creative process, and to become practised in the long hard slog of execution that inevitably must follow that initial, seductive, flash of inspiration. Nothing strengthens your creative muscles more than having to progress from an ‘idea’ to an actual, fully-realised and inevitably imperfect ‘thing’. But it is only by getting to that final stage, and unleashing something new on the world that we can truly call ourselves creators.
My writing has helped me to become practised in the art of storytelling, to trust my instinct when it comes to an idea, and to carve a clear narrative path through thorny topics both on the page and the screen.
I am currently based at London production studio and agency Parable, where I work across all manner of projects from feature-length documentaries for Red Bull Media House to strategy and narrative work for major brands.
To stay up to date, please follow me on social media:
Instagram – @helen_collerton
Twitter – @helen_r_writes