Sally Read is a poet and writer based near Rome, Italy. Her books are memoirs and poetry and, through her ongoing writing, she expresses the difficult and jagged edges of the world with raw honesty in a context of poetry and faith.
Originally training and working as a psychiatric nurse, Sally left the hospital wards of London and completed her MA in South Dakota USA. From there she moved to Sardinia and published her first collection of poems The Point of Splitting with Bloodaxe Books in 2005. After moving to Rome, and becoming a mother, she went on to publish another collection of poems, Broken Sleep, this time with a focus on motherhood as well as nursing. As Sally completed her third collection of poems, The Day Hospital, she experienced a dramatic nine month conversion from atheism to the Catholic faith, and this is recounted in her memoir Night’s Bright Darkness (Ignatius Press). A few years later she wrote Annunciation, a Call to Faith in a Broken World, for her daughter. Using stories from her experiences as a nurse and mother, and through meditating on verses from the gospel of Luke, Sally defends the faith and shows how the Catholic spiritual life strengthens and protects us in anxiety and suffering.
Sally’s most recent book of poems Dawn of this Hunger (Angelico Press and Second Spring) is fruit of her ten year tenure as poet in residence with the Hermitage of the Three Holy Hierarchs.
As a poet Sally has been nominated for the Jerwood-Aldeburgh prize for best first collection, received an Eric Gregory award, and won prize for best Catholic poetry book from the Catholic Media Association in 2022. Her poetry has been recorded for the UK’s Poetry Archive, and her work, in both poetry and prose, has appeared in numerous publications and anthologies including, The Times Literary Supplement, The Independent on Sunday, The Manhattan Review, The Catholic Herald, The Picador Book of Love Poems, Poems of the Decade, Identity Parade, The Tablet and Magnificat. Sally’s work has been translated into five languages. She has also written lyrics for the sacred music of Paul Flynn.
Currently, Sally is editing an anthology of great Catholic poetry for Word on Fire.
As a writer of twenty years who has always been honest in her searching and beliefs, Sally is aware that her first three books, and her most recent three publications, are written for vastly different readerships. Her conversion to Catholicism in 2010 changed her artistic aim. She is looking, in whatever way she can, to restore all things in Christ. With this in mind, Sally gives talks and retreats for believers and non-believers about her own spiritual path, and how poetry can help us as both readers and writers.