I Hate to Be the One to Tell You This


Winner of the 2022 International Book & Pamphlet Competition, judged by Romalyn Ante and Jonathan Edwards.

It’s a shame, isn’t it, to have to rat on your neighbours? Upsetting to find out that both your husband and the dog have been telling you lies? And I hate to be the one to tell you this, but there are bad people everywhere, at large, going about their business. Financial insolvents on online-dating sites, contortionist plumbers with a point to prove, and a bloke named Barry, from Halifax, who is singlehandedly ruining the livelihoods of perfectly legitimate psychics.

It’s not all bad news though, there are sham marriages to look forward to, ducklings to be held captive by, and that dog, well, you can always put him up for sale. Life, I’m afraid, is based on nothing more than slippery moorings, and this debut pamphlet breaks the bad news with humour and a twist of darkness.

Published March 2023

What Writers and Critics Think

  • I hate to be the one to tell you by Zoë Walkington introduces a powerful and distinctive voice. From a mistress brought home by her lover to meet his family, to a decimal point error which results in an extraordinary mass delivery of milk, these poems offer us highly original takes on familiar domestic situations. The precise directness of the language creates real comic and emotive impact, in poems crammed with great ideas and unforgettable endings. This is writing which really excites.

    Jonathan Edwards


The poems in this collection erupt with beauty and emotional resonance. These are graceful meditations on human relationships with each other and with themselves. The voice of the poet is strikingly unique, but there are also moments when it seems to be coming from within us, from the place of personal wonder: ‘Outside a wood-pigeon coos monotonously / its slung together nest is hidden from view, / just like your knickers are, mostly, / and your feelings about your mother.’ – Romalyn Ante, co-judge of the International Book & Pamphlet Competition

Zoë Walkington lives with her whippets in Woburn Sands in Bedfordshire. She is a Professor of Psychology at the Open University, specialising in the psychology of police investigations. She regularly advises the police on interviewing suspects, and acts as an academic advisor to the BBC on factual crime content. Zoë has published poems in HinterlandStrix, and The North magazines. She is an outdoor enthusiast and enjoys running, tennis, cycling and dog walking.

Additional information

Weight 0.087 kg
Dimensions 21 × 0.5 × 14.8 cm
Publication Year

March 2023


9781914914416, 9781914914423




eBook (ePub), Pamphlet