Chris McCully

About Chris

Image of Chris McCully 2019 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 until 2003 on aspects of English language history, poetic form and phonology. He worked at universities in the Netherlands (2003- 13) before moving to the University of Essex (2013- 22). He retired from academic life in 2023. His writing and research spans a range of preoccupations: poetry, metrics and translation; the history and structure of the English language; angling and its lexicon. Recently, Chris completed what will probably be his last angling/environmental book (about the Wharfe in Yorkshire), The River of All the Goodbyes (Medlar, 2023) and a dictionary of the names of freshwater fish (Medlar, 2022). Looking back over the preceding five years, in 2018 a new translation of Beowulf appeared from Carcanet and Four Places (a collection of travel essays) was published by Muscaliet; 2019 saw the publication of Stour Diaries (Medlar - on the angling, culture and history of the Stour valley); a collection of prose-poems, The English Funerals (Muscaliet) was published in 2021.

Poppy October 2020 Chris's most recent book is The River of All the Goodbyes (Medlar, 2023 - Names of the Fish in British and Irish Freshwaters was published, also by Medlar, in 2022 - The English Funerals, a collection of ten-line prose poems, was published in 2021 (

Chris is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow of the 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. In 2018 he was made a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA). He retired in 2023 as Emeritus Professor (University of Essex).

Although he's given up professional life, Chris retains detailed interests in the history of the English language, in local architecture, culture and history, and in many different ecological matters. He also ties flies, reads extensively and critically, develops different parts of the garden, plays the piano with criminal enthusiasm, and whenever the diary allows, he goes fishing. He's also currently bringing on the fourth of a succession of Labradors (see image right).

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