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 Press Quotes and Reviews

Praise for Pity

"Tender and true. It explores with brilliance and deep empathy how our lives - and our secrets - are always intertwined with those who went before us" -- DOUGLAS STUART

"A deeply felt and rich enactment of love, loneliness and personal triumph that leaves an indelible mark on modern Queer life. With the poet's precision and capacious resistance to resolution, wherein doubt is transformed into force, McMillan's first foray into fiction is a magical one" -- OCEAN VUONG

"We already knew that Andrew McMillan could turn a phrase. With his debut novel, he also shows us a rare gift for storytelling. Pity digs deep into the heart and history of South Yorkshire and brings out the black gold of love, longing and loss. A triumph" -- JON McGREGOR

"Pity pays a great poet's tough but tender attention to the unspoken layers and historic fissures which lie beneath the wounded town of the self. This beautiful book about the marks that are left on people and places in turn leaves a deep empathic mark on the reader" -- MAX PORTER

"Pity is as tough, glittering and multilayered as the coal upon which it rests. With lyrical prose and deep tenderness, Andrew McMillan beautifully explores the complex hauntings of love and grief across generations" -- LIZ BERRY

"Truly stunning. A novel that deals with the ways history intervenes in our lives and how we can use our lives to intervene in history. South Yorkshire is a crucible" -- HELEN MORT

"Moving and resilient, Pity explores queer life in a northern English town in a way that is immediately recognisable, full of wounds, history and possibility. Written with the scope and precision that characterises all of McMillan's work, this is a lightning bolt of a book" -- SEÀN HEWITT

"In supple, honest prose, Pity questions how we can bear the weight of what came before us. Through an acute exploration of social class, masculinity, sexuality and resistance, McMillan deftly portrays a town grappling with loss amid its post-industrial legacy, while offering a hopeful vision of what the future could look like, if we were given the power to redefine our histories and tell our stories on our own terms" -- JESSICA ANDREWS

"Andrew McMillan's writing is phenomenal, fresh and evocative, compelling and compassionate. Pity is a beautiful and stirring book, vivid and timeless" -- SALENA GODDEN

"Pity is an astounding novel: it is intricately crafted and highly ambitious. Taut, formally inventive and deeply rich in its language, it is driven by characters that will haunt the reader long after the final page has been turned" -- OKECHUKWU NZELU




Praise for pandemonium

"A moving exploration of mental health". ― (i, Entertainment to look forward to this Spring)

"A fascinating collection - troubling and moving to read... McMillan has mastered the art of self-reproach... [an] exceptional vigil of a book"(Kate Kellaway ― Observer, Poetry Book of the Month)

"The young celebrant of sexuality who burst on to the literary scene with 2015’s physical has undergone a deepening and darkening" (Fiona Sampson, The Guardian)

"Tender, devastating and potent, pandemonium is the extraordinary third poetry offering from the prize-winning Andrew McMillan... a phenomenal, fearless talent" (Uli Lenart, Attitude Magazine)

Praise for playtime 

"Vivid, accessible and honest, sometimes uncomfortably so." (Alan Bennett London Review of Books)

"An unobstructed exploration of an important subject. McMillan is writing not only see-through but see-beyond poetry." (Kate Kellaway Observer)

"By returning to familiar ground and deepening his engagement with it, McMillan makes clear that the poetics of physical wasn’t a one-off. As with all the best second outings, this collection firmly establishes his patent… [a] fully realised, deeply humane collection." (Sarah Crown Guardian)

"[An] equally page-turning second collection… McMillan is 30, but writes with the melancholy understatement for an older writer… McMillan’s pared-back style puts great weight on each word, often with magnetic results… McMillan wears his influences on his sleeve – Thom Gunn, Sharon Olds’s explicit Odes, a flicker of Book of Matches-era Simon Armitage – yet brings them together in a voice that is confident, captivating and distinctly his own… Any fans of physical worrying how McMillan could top one of the most widely praised debuts of recent years should breathe a sigh of relief: playtime may be a quieter collection, but it’s a deeper, richer one too."

(Tristram Fane Saunders Telegraph, Poetry Books of the Month)

"Andrew McMillan’s second collection, playtime, is every bit as impressive as his first, physical… He seems attuned to the world around him and he has a sly sense of humour at his command. He is more than promising now."

(Paul Bailey Literary Review)

"McMillan scrutinises the violent idealism of masculinity in monologues that are both tender and steely… told with courage, invention and charm."

(Jeremy Noel-Tod, Sunday Times)

"Andrew McMillan's award-winning debut collection, physical, a raw and tender exploration of gay love and desire, heralded him as a new force in contemporary poetry. This, his second book, only cements that reputation... these poems are insightful, revealing, honest and brutally tender."


"playtime is admirably devoted to intimacies and it has a tenderness to it even in its most private of moments... This is a triumphant collection of poems."

(Elaine Cosgrove Totally Dublin)


Praise for physical

"Minutely observed, bold yet understated, moving and often profound in the same breath, Physical is a book everyone should read" (The Guardian)


"Andrew McMillan’s wide-awake debut anatomises male desire and its often thwarted expressions; these fresh and engaging poems enter the temple of longing in honest search for what may be found there, which turns out to be joy, desolation, secret languages, the possibilities of transformation and of disappointment borne in every touch." (Mark Doty)

"Physical really announces Andrew McMillan and it feels like a long while since a first book has managed this degree of tenderness and candour, sensuality and vulnerability. “There is beauty in the ordinary”, and every poem in this urgent, unflinching, exceptional debut affirms this." (Paul Farley)

"Thom Gunn, the lodestar of this collection, said that poetry comes from obsession and passion. Few first books are as passionate, as carnal, as this one. McMillan’s work is a glorious, vivid exploration of the body as the loved and broken ground on which we meet and are transformed." (Michael Symmons Roberts)

"Unforced, unbidden, these are poems that call you by your real name, poems that have seen you naked, poems that find out your secrets and gift them back. Physical is alive with subtle reflections on masculinity, love and loss; a record of how we forget ourselves and how we remember. It will captivate and change you." (Helen Mort)


“Andrew McMillan’s debut collection is, in the best sense, unrelenting. It occupies a space from which there is no retreat; which is not to speak only of its returning subject - ‘male desire’ - but also of the poet’s unflinching encounters with matters of the heart” (David Harsent)


“Andrew McMillan writes consistently graceful, vigorous and heart-felt poems of male desire, building structures which know the uses of silence as well as though of language” (Carol Rumens)


“An absolutely, thrillingly, distinctive voice that marries the visceral and the intellectual in an original way” (Ahren Warner)


“ Visceral, sensual poems unafraid to face down the darker side of life and desire” (Adam O’Riordan)


“Joyfully obliterates drab conventions and moves with honesty and fervour through the perilous reaches of human desire” (Joanna Kavenna)


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