Reckless Paper Birds by John McCullough has been shortlisted in the poetry category of the major UK literary prize, the Costa Book Awards." /> Reckless Paper Birds by John McCullough has been shortlisted in the poetry category of the major UK literary prize, the Costa Book Awards." property="og:description">

John McCullough’s ‘passionate and political’ third collection shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award

Blog / Kate Wilkinson

Reckless Paper Birds by John McCullough has been shortlisted in the poetry category of the major UK literary prize, the Costa Book Awards.

Surreal, joyful, political and queer, the poems of Reckless Paper Birds range across birdlife, Grindr and My Little Pony while also addressing social issues from homelessness to homophobia. The collection has been praised as ‘dazzling’ by Helen Mort and ‘mind-blowingly excellent’ by Gscene.

 

 

Launched in 1971, the Costa Book Awards is one of the UK’s most prestigious and popular book prizes and celebrates the most enjoyable books of the year by writers resident in the UK and Ireland. Uniquely, the prize has five categories (Novel, First Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book) with one of the five winning books selected as the overall Costa Book of the Year and each category is judged separately by a panel of three judges per category.

 

Category winners will be announced on 6 January 2020 and the author of the Costa Book of the Year receives a cheque for £30,000, presented at an awards ceremony at the end of January.

 

On the news of his shortlisting, McCullough said, “It’s a wonderful surprise. I aimed to do something really different with Reckless Paper Birds, to explore the side of myself that is more passionate and political but also more vulnerable and I’m so glad that paid off.”

 

Penned in the Margins director Tom Chivers said, “At once precise and exuberant, there are few better poets of love and desire writing today than John McCullough. This shortlisting represents long overdue recognition of his skill and compassion, as well as an opportunity to introduce lots of new readers to his work!”

 

This is the second time a Penned in the Margins title has been shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award, after Melissa Lee Houghton’s 2016 collection, Sunshine.

 

Buy Reckless Paper Birds now for just £4.99 in our Black Friday Sale!

NOTES TO EDITORS

John McCullough teaches creative writing at the University of Brighton, the Arvon Foundation and New Writing South, and lives in Hove, East Sussex. His first collection of poems, The Frost Fairs, won the Polari First Book Prize in 2012. It was a Book of the Year for The Independent and The Poetry School, and a summer read for The Observer. His second collection Spacecraft, published by Penned in the Margins in 2016, was described as ‘humane and spellbinding’. johnmccullough.co.uk Penned in the Margins creates publications and performances for people who are not afraid to take risks. From small beginnings as a reading series in a converted railway arch in south London, Penned in the Margins has grown over the last decade into a respected, award-winning literary arts company producing new work live, in print and online. Their books have been shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Award, TS Eliot Prize, Costa Poetry Award, Gordon Burn Prize and the International Dylan Thomas Prize; in 2017 they were shortlisted for the inaugural Clarissa Luard Award for Independent Publishers. pennedinthemargins.co.uk

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