Chris McCully

About Chris

Chris Tess and Paddy Too 2013 Chris McCully was born in Bradford, Yorkshire in 1958. Educated at Malsis and Bootham, he took a first-class degree in English Language (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1982) and completed a doctorate at the University of Manchester (1988), where he worked for many subsequent years (until 2003) on aspects of English language history, poetic form and English phonology. Chris now works at the University of Essex, where he teaches English writing and publishes across a range of genres - journalism (much of it related to angling), poetry, environmental writing and academic and/or technical essays.

During the 1980s and 90s Chris authored, edited or co-authored collections of poems; essays; a fragment of angling autobiography (which ended up as fiction); a textbook on metrical theory; a dictionary of fly-fishing; conference proceedings...and continued producing academic papers, essays, reviews and angling features. Some of this work appeared in two journals with which Chris has long been associated, PN Review and Trout and Salmon.

Since 2003 Chris has published sixteen further book titles (you'll find them on the Home Page and elsewhere here under Chris's books - a chronological list). The books span the range of Chris's preoccupations: poetry, metrics and translation; the history and structure of the English language; angling. Chris has had the immense good fortune in recent years to have the freedom to work across that range. There's more to come: a new translation of Beowulf, with an extensive Afterword about the poem and the process of translation, will appear from Carcanet in 2018; a short collection of travel essays, Four Places, has appeared from the Muscaliet Press (2018). And 2018 should also see the completion of Chris's work on the history, angling and culture of the Stour valley (Stour Diaries, begun in 2013). Slowly Chris is also putting together a new collection of poems, working title A Few Late Wasps.

Chris on Beltra 2012 Chris's most recent angling book, working in collaboration with Ken Whelan and James Sadler, is Nomads of the Tides: Fishing for Irish Sea-Trout. This was a big project - six years in the making, spanning fifty different Irish sea-trout waters - and the book is accompanied by a full website (see http://nomadsofthetides.com/). During the making of Nomads often Chris worked very closely and happily not only with some sterling individual anglers, naturalists and guides together with representatives of Inland Fisheries Ireland (http://www.fishinginireland.info/) but also one of Ireland's top photographers, Gardiner Mitchell, whose work can be viewed on http://www.gardinermitchell.com/. Travelling and fishing with Ken Whelan and James Sadler, co-conspirators in this project, was likewise a joy. To order Nomads, please click on http://www.medlarpress.com/8166-Fishing-Books-Nomads-of-the-Tides_by_McCully--Whelan.html

Chris continues to contribute gratefully and with regularity - a happy or frightening regularity, depending on your point of view - to the UK fishing journals, particularly to Trout and Salmon. He was also a fairly long-term contributor to the late and much lamented Waterlog. There are also literary journals to which Chris has been a regular contributor and literary and academic publishers and publishing houses for whom he has provided books, reviews and advisory services for many years. Many former colleagues and publishers have become friends.

In 2003 Chris was granted the title of Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Faculty of Arts, University of Manchester. Until 2017 he was one of the directors of the Modern Literary Archives Project (John Rylands University Library, Manchester) and was also the convenor of the annual Rylands Reading.


Chris is married and after living in Holland for ten years, in 2013 he and Monika relocated to England and the University of Essex. In his non-existent spare time Chris works with the Labrador, young Paddy Too, tries not to fret...and of course, he goes fishing.

Photos: top ©Monika Schmid 2013, bottom ©Gardiner Mitchell 2012

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