Sheenagh Pugh

Poet and novelist

Books and Reviews

For information on my latest collection, Long-Haul Travellers, go here

And for Later Selected Poems, go here

The Democratic Genre 2005

 The most authoritative book on the subject
The Sunday Telegraph

A lively book which lovingly details fan writers' private language.
The Independent

Sheenagh Pugh has found an entire coterie out there busy revivifying Jane Austen's characters, giving the second and third daughters their own pasts and futures and listening, as Austen never had the chance to do, to what the heroes say to each other in their London clubs.
The Guardian

A knowledgeable and enthusiastic guide to the intense world of fan fiction [...] a thought-provoking read about a growing phenomenon

Perhaps the most satisfactory work I've read so far on fanfic, if only because it's not looking for the Single Unitary Theory of why people write fanfic, and not assuming that there is something Really Strange about people who do. It's a good read in itself and has a lot of interesting and thought-provoking things to say.
Lesley Hall

It isn't written in elitist "academ-ese". It's a very readable book written by someone who seems to be a fan herself. - Catherine (owner and creator of the Archieology 101 website)

The Movement of Bodies 2005

I have long admired Sheenagh Pugh’s work, which manages to combine accessibility with profundity, clarity and sophistication. ’The Movement of Bodies’ offers her familiar blend of the historical, the literary and the inimitably quirky.[...] Thoroughly recommended.
John Greening, The London Magazine

She can make us feel what it was like to be a young soldier in Napoleon's Grande Armée... poems as compact and intelligent as early Geoffrey Hill... there is a wonderful sense of place too. The Movement of Bodies is a book you want to read.
The North

Stunned by these poems that are deeply touching without being sentimental {...] I certainly can't let go of this book.

Pugh's gift for registering human transitoriness, the marks it leavs behind, its echo on the air.

Sheenagh Pugh takes on dangerous topics... yet succeeds in drawing from each not merely an elegantly turned poem, but a clear and original thought.
The Poetry Book Society

The Movement of Bodies was a Poetry Book Society recommendation and was also shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize. The title poem has appeared in the Guardian's Poem of the Week blog.

The Beautiful Lie 2002

Read this collection... the two sequences inform and echo each other's involvement with themes of desire, fact and fantasy in ways which undermine assumptions about "modern" and "historical" themes and open out to a wide audience.
New Welsh Review

... that in-between space or boundary between fiction and reality, where an imaginative poetics may emerge
Poetry Wales

... each poem makes its point with economy and power
Vernon Scannell, Daily Telegraph

...a poet capable of dealing with difficult themes, intent on restoring threads of language where they have unravelled
The Times Literary Supplement

The Beautiful Lie was shortlisted for the Whitbread Poetry Prize 2003. The judging panel said: "Her poems are moving and funny and thoughtful - they never take refuge in obscurity and replace truisms with a novel kind of truth." The collection was also shortlisted for the Arts Council of Wales Welsh Book of the Year Prize 2003.

What If This Road Gwasg Carreg Gwalch 2003

A sort of mini-Selected from Corgi (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch) in their series of books priced to be within the range of students. What If This Road has some older stuff but is mostly from the three books that came after my Selected Poems in 1990, so it's more like what I'm doing now. Only £1.99 (or 3.25 euros), very nice cover pic from the painting "Blue Skies" by the noted Welsh artist Ken Elias and can be had from Gwasg Carreg Gwalch, Station Yard, Llanrwst, Wales LL26 0EH or email. You can see more of Ken Elias's work here.

A fascinating collection of poems with a huge variety in the subject matter... among my favourites are "Captain Roberts Goes Looting", about a sea captain who values a fragrant cup of tea over traditional plunder and the wry irony of "Two Retired Spymasters"
Review from, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council.

Selected Poems 1990

This is a Selected which is genuinely unputdownable. Once you start in you get hooked.
Poetry Review

Selected Poems has for some years been an AS-Level set text and has been twice reprinted.

Sing for the Taxman 1993

Sheenagh Pugh has enthusiasms. Snooker and beautiful young men, together or separately, music from Mozart to rock, history and the north. I am sure I am not the only reader to respond to the romance of the north in Sheenagh Pugh's poetry.
P. N. Review

Her great gifts are accessibility, wit, subtle rhyme schemes and the ability to illuminate half-forgotten corners of history.
Poetry Wales

Id's Hospit 1997

Pugh's work is accessible, she seeing poetry's first priority as to entertain, especially if a poet wishes to encourage people to think. One of her poetic gifts is the surprising image. She uses subtle rhymes and sudden throwaway lines of wit and irony.

Here is a breath of fresh air! Sheenagh Pugh is as adept at writing movingly about profound issues as she is at slicing through pomposity with incisive wit. Fresh and full of life.
Poetry Nottingham

Stonelight 1999

...The sparse use of just the right word which operates throughout the volume. What pleased
me best was the sense of humour and wit.

Vivid personification and a glorious juxtaposition of apparently unrelated objects

New Welsh Review

Savour the richness of this collection
Poetry Monthly

Stonelight has been named Welsh Book of the Year 2000 by the Arts Council of Wales


Prisoners of Transience 1985

All published by Seren, 57 Nolton Street, Bridgend CF31 3AE, Wales
Email . You can also buy books via their web site

Novel: Kirstie's Witnesses

The fate of one Christina Inkster Jamieson as recorded in Court and Poor Board records, a real person woven into a novel treatment. But it is not an historical novel. This is a touching story, very well told and deserves a wide readership.
Books in Scotland

Remarkable and deeply moving... it captures the simple dignity of a woman pushed to extremity by the cruelty of her times

In Sheenagh Pugh's novel it is Kirstie's warmth, and the warmth of people who knew and succoured her, that we remember and will go on remembering.
The Shetland Times

Published by the Shetland Times Ltd, 71-79 Commercial Street, Lerwick, Shetland ZE1 0AJ
Phone 01595 695531 Fax 01595 692897

Novel: Folk Music - 1999

The novel "Folk Music" (Seren) came out in December 1999. It's set in an unidentified Middle European country somewhere around the end of the 19th century and concerns how people interact and socialise with each other to form a society. How do you communicate if you aren't allowed to talk to people? Or if you're deaf - or scared stiff of them, or embarrassed to say loving things, or reluctant to speak your mind for fear of starting an argument?

A lapidary work, setting the bright fragments of people's lives into a pattern.
The New Welsh Review

A beautiful study of human communication.

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