Jenn Ashworth, Kylie Whitehead and Naomi Booth at Blackwell’s

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor
Jenn Ashworth
Photo by Martin Figura

19 October 2021 Tickets from £5 — Book now

Blackwell’s autumn events programme continues afoot, with this evening celebrating two of the booksellers’ favourite novels of 2021: Jenn Ashworth’s Ghosted: A Love Story and Absorbed by Kylie Whitehead. The two authors will be chatting to fellow author Naomi Booth, whose own novel Exit Management is out with Liverpool-based Dead Ink Books.

Celebrating two of the booksellers’ favourite novels of 2021: Jenn Ashworth’s Ghosted: A Love Story and Absorbed by Kylie Whitehead. The two authors will be chatting to fellow author Naomi Booth.

Ghosted: A Love Story is the fifth novel from Lancaster University creative writing lecturer Jenn Ashworth (who you can glean tips off at the National Creative Writing Industry Day in November), out with Sceptre this month. Her debut A Kind of Intimacy won a Betty Trask Award and her second, Cold Light, saw her featured on the BBC’s The Culture Show as one of the UK’s 12 best new writers. The Friday Gospels and Fell followed and her memoir-in-essays, Notes Made While Falling, came out in 2019, when it was a New Statesman Book of the Year and was shortlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize.

Ghosted is described as “a deeply affecting and unconventional love story, shot through with anger, black humour and grief”.

Here’s the blurb: “One ordinary morning, Laurie’s husband Mark vanishes, leaving behind his phone and wallet. For weeks, she tells no one, carrying on her job as a cleaner at the local university, visiting her tricky, dementia-suffering father and holing up in her tower-block flat with a bottle to hand. When she finally reports Mark as missing, the police are suspicious. Why did she take so long? Wasn’t she worried? It turns out there are many more mysteries in Laurie’s account of events, though not just because she glosses over the facts. At the time, she couldn’t explain much of her behaviour herself. But as she looks back on the ensuing wreckage – the friendships broken, the wild accusations she made, the one-night stand – she can see more clearly what lay behind it. And if it’s not too late, she can see how she might repair the damage and, most of all, forgive herself.”

Equally unsettling, Absorbed (New Ruins) is London-based Kylie Whitehead’s debut novel, described as “a darkly comic novel of female insecurity, body horror and modern relationships”. Jenn Ashworth is quoted as saying: Uncomfortable psychological accuracy, dark humour and out and out horror. I loved it.”

Here’s the blurb for Absorbed: “Allison has been with Owen since university. She’s given up on writing her novel and is working a dull office job at the local council – now it feels like the only interesting thing about her is that she’s Owens girlfriend. But he’s slipping away from her, and Allison has no idea who she’ll be without him. Panicking, she absorbs him… Soon Allison begins taking on Owen’s best qualities, becoming the person she always thought she should be. But is Owen all she needs to complete herself? Will Allison ever be a whole person?”

Get yourself tickets to this in-person event, and find out…

Ghosted by Jenn Ashworth
Ghosted by Jenn Ashworth

19 October 2021 Tickets from £5 Book now

Where to go near Jenn Ashworth, Kylie Whitehead and Naomi Booth at Blackwell’s

Fairfield Social Club

Launching in spring 2024, Fairfield Social Club is a multi-purpose site next to Angel Meadows Park in the Green Quarter.

The Coro

Nestled in the heart of Ulverston, a rural market town on the fringes of the Lake District, stands The Coro —an esteemed historic hub for arts, culture, and entertainment

Sam Read Bookseller

Award-winning small bookshop in the Lake District. Est. by Sam Read in 1887. Run by Will Smith and Polly Atkin.


Capri serves up homely, family-style Italian food in North Yorkshire.

Manchester Wine Tours

Manchester Wine Tours is a relaxed, fun wine tour, taking in four or five venues across three hours, plus six high-quality glasses of wine.

Juno Books

Friendly local queer and intersectional feminist bookshop in Sheffield. Visit for interesting fiction and non fiction books.

The Dusty Miller

Family friendly pub situated in the beautiful village of Mytholmroyd.

Winckley Square
Winckley Square

Hosting a variety of year-round events, from guided walks to jazz evenings, Winckley Square is a Georgian square packed with history in Preston city centre.

What's on: Literature

Writer Nicholas Royle. Photo by Zoe McLean
Ghosts at the Old Library

Levenshulme Old Library has commissioned brand-new festive ghost stories from six writers for three special atmospheric lantern-lit reading events after hours in the Carnegie building.

from £10
LiteratureWest Yorkshire
Poetry at the Dusty Miller

Poetry at the Dusty Miller is a brand-new night with invited readers, organised by Carcanet-published Carola Luther and Judith Willson in the Coiners’ Room in the Mytholmroyd pub.

free entry
Nathan Parker
Verbose at The King’s Arms

One of Manchester’s longest-running monthly spoken word and live literature events, Verbose welcomes two invited headliners to the stage each month, plus a selection of open mic performers.

free entry

Culture Guides

Music in Manchester and the North

Spotlighting global artists who all, in one way or another, break the mould, we preview the best gigs happening this side of Christmas and beyond.