John McCullough & Gail McConnell

Thursday 10 March 2022, 7pm-8.30pm

159 Stoke Newington High Street
N16 0NY

Refreshments will be served

Join indie publisher Penned in the Margins in Stoke Newington Bookshop for an evening of poetry and celebration with John McCullough and Gail McConnell.

John will be launching his ‘visionary’ new collection, Panic Response and you’ll be able to hear him read and bag a copy. He will be joined by Belfast poet Gail McConnell whose first collection,The Sun is Open, was published by Penned in the Margins in September last year. There will be time for readings, Q&A and signings.

Capacity is strictly limited so please book now if you intend to come. Mask wearing is encouraged.

About John


From the mercurial mind of award-winning poet John McCullough comes his darkest and most experimental book to date. Panic Response puts personal and cultural anxiety under the microscope. It is full of things that shimmer, quiver and fizz: plankton glowing at low tide; brain tissue turning to glass; a basketball emerging from the waves, covered in barnacles. These are poems of uncertainty but also of hope, which move beyond the breathlessness of panic towards luminescence and solidarity.

‘Tender, intimate, zany… a book for our troubled times.’ Monique Roffey

John McCullough lives in Hove. His third book of poems, Reckless Paper Birds (2019), won the Hawthornden Prize and was shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award. His previous collections have been Books of the Year for The Guardian and The Independent. He teaches creative writing at the University of Brighton and for organisations including the Arvon Foundation.

About Gail


The Sun is Open sifts through a boxed archive of public and private materials related to the life and death of the author’s father, who was murdered by the IRA outside their Belfast home in 1984. Moving between child and adult voices, past and present, this startlingly innovative debut attempts to decode the fragments left behind and, with them, piece together a history and a life.

‘Each page is rich with exquisite and surprising language, pain, and wisdom.’ Maggie Nelson

Gail McConnell is a writer and critic from Belfast. She is the author of two poetry pamphlets: Fothermather (Ink Sweat & Tears, 2019) and Fourteen (Green Bottle Press, 2018). Gail’s poems have appeared in Poetry Review, PN Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Blackbox Manifold and Stand, and she is the recipient of two awards from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. She is Senior Lecturer in English at Queen’s University Belfast and the author of Northern Irish Poetry and Theology (Palgrave, 2014).

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