Hilary Menos was born in Luton in 1964 and read Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Wadham College, Oxford. She took a diploma in Graphic Origination and Reproduction and a postgraduate diploma in Journalism, both at the London College of Printing, where she was also President of the Student Union in 1987-88. She then worked as a food journalist in London, including a stint as a restaurant critic with Time Out, before moving to Devon in 1997 to renovate a Domesday Manor and bring up three sons, Jethro, Bruno and Linus. Her first marriage ended in 2001.
In 2004, together with her partner Andy Brodie, she set up Beenleigh Manor Organics, a 100 acre mixed organic farm, selling breeding stock and finished beef and lamb. At its peak the farm ran a herd of 40 pedigree Red Ruby Devon cattle and 150 organic Wiltshire Horn sheep. Their son Inigo was born in 2006. In 2011 the decision was made to scale down the farm and by 2013 all farming activity had ceased.
She also worked with Exeter-based children’s theatre company Quirk Theatre as dramaturge and script overseer between 2012 and 2016, and completed an MA in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2013. She has reviewed for Happenstance, PN Review and Warwick Review, among others.
Her son, Linus, was born with a congenital abnormality of the ureters and bilater vesico-uteric reflux. He had a kidney infection when he was very small which left him with scarred kidneys and impaired kidney function. In 2012 his kidneys started to fail and in 2014 Hilary donated one of her kidneys to him.
In August 2016 Hilary, Andy and Inigo moved to France to renovate a fifteenth century Templar lodge in the Tarn and develop their web design company, Magic Bean.
She won the Envoi Poetry Competition in 2002. Her first pamphlet, Extra Maths (Smith/Doorstop, 2004), was a winner of The Poetry Business Book and Pamphlet Competition 2004/05. Her first full collection, Berg (Seren Books, 2009), won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2010. Her second pamphlet, Wheelbarrow Farm (Templar, 2010), was a winner of the Templar Poetry Pamphlet and Collection Competition 2010. Her second full collection, Red Devon, was published by Seren Books in 2013.
Her third pamphlet, Human Tissue, was a winner in The Poetry Business Book and Pamphlet Competition 2019/20. The pamphlet tells of her experiences of kidney donation, and the difficulties faced by people with chronic kidney disease.