Gail Bell

Drawing on her background as a practising pharmacist, educator, writer, and lover of elegant prose, Gail Bell has written her first full-length work of non-fiction, The Poison Principle, which was published in June 2001 by Picador and went straight into the bestseller lists where it stayed for ten weeks. The book has been bought by Macmillan U.K. and St. Martins Press USA, where it was released in hardcover in July and October 2002 respectively. The Poison Principlewas shortlisted for 4 major prizes and in 2002 won the NSW Premier’s Literary Award for non-fiction.

Her second book Shot: a personal response to guns and trauma was released to critical acclaim in November 2003. In this book Gail relives the night in 1968 when she was shot in the back while walking home from the train station, and broadens its scope into a discussion of guns and gun control in our society. The book was shortlisted for the Nita B. Kibble Award, the Ned Kelly Award and most recently the 2005 One Book One Brisbane Award. It was re-released in July 2018 as Being Shot.

In June 2005 Gail’s 25,000 word essay The Worried Well: the depression epidemic and the medicalisation of our sorrows was published by Black Inc. in Quarterly Essay Magazine # 18. Described as “an elegant essay” & “intensely literate and thought-provoking”, the essay provoked much public debate and award nominations.

Gail is a regular contributor to The Monthly magazine and her essays can be found at

Books by Gail Bell:
Being ShotThe Poison Principle