Performance Publishing

Pupa by J. O. Morgan

June 30th, 2021 | Posted by David in


J. O. Morgan demonstrates the same skills at storytelling and complex world-building in Pupa as he does in his other books. Here too is that same philosophical rigour and absolute control of language. But his particular genius in this work is the creation of a world in which a different human lifecycle shines brilliant light on our own animal rites of passage and ways of being in the world.

Sasha Dugdale

This is a remarkable tale of courage and limitations that demands to be re-read.

Caroline Clark, Literary Review

In essence, this is a novel about wanting to find the contours within which it is possible to find ease and acceptance. A place of welcome and retreat even if there is nobody else there… It doesn’t need adornments. It’s sufficient that we see the dilemmas that Sal and Megan must negotiate and find enough in their unfamiliar lives for us as readers to empathise with their exceptional, ordinary lives.

Declan O’Driscoll, The Unfortunates

There are times when I hanker for a well crafted sentence, where every carefully chosen word gives pleasure to the reader. Sometimes I’ll even forget about the plot because the writing stands out. Fortunately poet J.O. Morgan’s novel, Pupa, succeeds on both points… Like Ishiguro, the writing is elegant, delicate and a joy to read.

Robert Pisani, The Bobsphere

Entering adulthood is something done furtively, in darkened, humid rooms, and not talked about. But, for all the book’s unsettling physicality, the innocent and well-meaning Sal, with all his doubts and fears, makes an even more lasting impression.
Alastair Mabbott, The Herald


Sal and Megan have the same life choices as everyone – they can remain at their juvenile stage or submit themselves to a precarious transformation. Each afraid of being left behind, they pull one another in conflicting directions.

J. O. Morgan creates a beguilingly simple tale of friendship and loss, an altopia in which everything he changes about humanity makes us more recognisable.

J. O. Morgan lives in Scotland. He is the author of seven previous books, each a single, book-length poem. The Martian’s Regress was shortlisted for the 2020 T. S. Eliot Prize. Assurances (2018), won the Costa Poetry Award and was shortlisted for the Forward Prize. Natural Mechanical (2009) was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and won the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize. His 2016 work, Interference Pattern, was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize

Handmade version made Autumn/Winter 2021

Additional information

Weight 0.45 kg
Dimensions 19 × 13 × 2 cm

Artists Book, Paperback

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