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. Chris also engaged in extensive worldwide travels - reading and/or lecturing - over the same period.

Since 2003 Chris has published thirteen 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. In 2013 he began to develop further writing projects: a new volume of poems (Serengeti Songs, Carcanet, launched in March 2016), together with a further typescript, submitted in December 2016, of 93 10-line prose poems (The English Funerals); a metrical translation of Beowulf (publication expected 2018); a collection of essays on travel, dislocation and writing (generic title From the Last Sane Places on Earth); a new series of questions embedded in essays about English poetic form (running title The Fretted Muse); and a new book about the fishing, culture and history of the Stour valley (probably from Medlar, probably in 2018...or 2019). Chris has also (2017) begun work on 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 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 ( but also one of Ireland's top photographers, Gardiner Mitchell, whose work can be viewed on Travelling and fishing with Ken Whelan and James Sadler, co-conspirators in this project, was likewise a joy. To order Nomads, please click on

Chris continues to contribute gratefully and with regularity - a happy or frightening regularity, depending on your point of view - to the UK fishing journals (Journal of the Grayling Society; Trout and Salmon; Waterlog). There are also literary journals to which Chris has been a long-term 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, and (with Michael Schmidt and Rachel Beckett) he remains one of the directors of the Modern Literary Archives Project (John Rylands University Library, Manchester). Chris is married and after living in Holland for ten years, in 2013 he and Monika relocated gratefully 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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