Acknowledgements (Clare Best, 2017)

I am indebted to the following for their professional interest and support at various stages of my work on this multimedia project: Stella Bolaki, Deborah Bowman, Andy Brown, Dan Browne, John Davies, the late Sue Eckstein, Gareth Evans, Bobbie Farsides, Kate Gale, Irene Gammel, Margaretta Jolly, Eva Karpinski, James Mackay, Lyn Thomas, Corinna Wagner, James Wilby, John Wrighton.

I am grateful to The Society of Authors for an Authors’ Foundation grant in 2016, which enabled me to work on bringing all the existing material together and writing new material.

I would like to thank the Fundación Valparaíso for a residency there in February 2017, which gave me time to focus on completing this project.


Copyright notice

All the content here, including photos and poems, is copyrighted. Please contact Clare Best for permission to use any of the material. Thank you.


Links and references

You can listen to Clare reading some of the poems from Self-portrait without Breasts on SoundCloud.

Clare Best’s website:

Laura Stevens’s website:

Short film about Self-portrait without Breasts made by Dan Browne and Irene Gammel:

Clare Best’s blog pieces for BMJ Medical Humanities Blog:

Stella Bolaki’s essay about Clare Best’s project – “The Absence Doubled?” Photo-Poetic Narratives of Prophylactic Mastectomy:


Previous publications by Clare Best

Treasure Ground (HappenStance 2009)

Excisions (Waterloo Press 2011)

Breastless (Pighog Press 2011)

CELL (Frogmore Press 2015)

Springlines (Little Toller Books 2017)


Some recent conferences at which Clare has presented her work

  • University of Sussex, June 2017, Life History and Life Writing Research: Critical and Creative Approaches. Keynote with Professor Lyn Thomas: ‘Life-writing, photography and the resilient body – Clare Best’s Self-portrait without Breasts and Annie Ernaux’s L’Usage de la Photo.’
  • Transatlantic Connections 4, Donegal, Eire (Drew, USA) 2017: presented on Take Me With You. Chaired panel: Facilitating growth and equality, and finding meaning in illness and disability.
  • University of Kent, 2016, Symposium: Artists’ Books and the Medical Humanities. Presentation: ‘I am Book’.
  • University of Warwick, 2016, Symposium: The Ethics of Display: exhibiting vulnerable bodies. Presentation and reading from Self-Portrait without Breasts.
  • StAnza International Poetry Festival, 2016. Theme: Body of Poetry. Panel discussion. Poetry reading.
  • Caspersen School of Graduate Studies, NJ, USA, Oct 2015. Illustrated talk with readings from Self-Portrait without Breasts.
  • Kings College London, 2015. Illustrated talk with readings from Self-Portrait without Breasts.
  • Transatlantic Connections 2, Donegal, Eire (Drew, USA) 2015: presented Self-Portrait without Breasts on panel: Medical Humanities and Narrative.
  • 5th International Symposium on Poetry & Medicine, Royal Society of Medicine, London, 2014: talk and reading from Self-Portrait without Breasts.
  • St Georges University of London, 2013, event in ‘The Art of Medicine’ series: talk/reading and photo exhibition about Self-Portrait without Breasts.
  • University of Glasgow, 2013. Presented on Self-Portrait without Breasts at conference: Attentive Writers: Healthcare, Authorship, and Authority.
  • University of Exeter, 2012. Event for launch of Medical Humanities project: Aesthetics and surgical experience. Presentation and exhibition of photos from Self-Portrait without Breasts plus panel discussion.
  • MLC Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada, 2012, illustrated talk with reading from Self-Portrait without Breasts.
  • Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, USA, 2012, illustrated talk with readings from Self-Portrait without Breasts.
  • Cuisle International Poetry Festival, Limerick, Eire, 2011. Poetry reading.