We’re Here, We’re Queer & We’re Reading: John McCullough & Sophie Mayer Hit the Poetry Road…

In 2001, Sophie Mayer and John McCullough read together in the Cella at the fabulous Sanctuary café in Brighton, brought together by poet Leo Mellor. Fast forward ten years to the present and happenstance sees both poets launching new books from Salt this summer: The Private Parts of Girls and The Frost Fairs (launching in Brighton tonight at the Red Roaster!) respectively. Connected by a series of strange co-incidences — John bakes bread while Sophie loves bread; both of them are planning to visit Japan; both of their book titles start with ‘The'; both identify as queer — they decide to join forces and launch their books together.

With a lesbian Laureate on the poetry throne, they figured that now would be the time to join forces and take their work over the rainbow. The poems in The Private Parts of Girls blur genders, eras, languages and intertexts, burning with secret ways to be a girl: talking back, taking flight, inking skin, becoming the Beast, and facing down a god, while The Frost Fairs explores love in many forms and through a striking array of voices, as abandoned lovers watch frost fairs melting on the Thames and drag queens revel in the freedoms afforded by the Blitz.

Sophie and John are bringing their paired poetry to venues both queer and to-be-queered, marking poetry as a space that, speaking boldly of hidden desires and hidden histories, welcomes and celebrates all. Join them to celebrate their new books and a new era for British queer poetry at:

3 May, 7.30pm: Interrobang?!, The Book Club, 100 Leonard Street (nearest tube: Old Street)

17 May, 8pm: Salt Cellar London launch for The Frost Fairs, Phoenix Arts Club (off Charing Cross Road)

23 May, 7pm: Chroma Presents…, Gay’s the Word, 66 Marchmont Street (nearest tube: Russell Square) — with special guests tba

25 May, 6.30pm: Poetry@King’s & Queer@King’s, Council Room, King’s College London

24 June, 7pm: Queer Writing South, Iambic Arts Centre, Brighton

September (date tba): Polari, Royal Festival Hall, London

with further events to be announced here in York, Edinburgh, Sussex and a reading series near you (contact Sophie if you’d like to arrange a reading).

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