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

Manchester Factory international Festival - People enjoying Festival Square in the city centre
Café or Coffee Shop
Factory Square

Factory Square is a huge beer garden, on the banks of the River Irwell, with top-quality drinks and street food selections.


Modern Greek Mediterranean cuisine from the team behind Tattu.

Flat Iron Leeds
Flat Iron Leeds

Relaxed restaurant in Leeds serving impressively high-quality steaks at an affordable price point.


Odioba is a new audiophile bar in Stockport, from the team behind the much-missed NAM. Coffee shop by day, bar by night.

Universally Manchester Festival 6-9 June 2024
The University of Manchester

Celebrating its 200th year in 2024, The University of Manchester is the largest single-site university in the UK, and boasts come incredible cultural institutions, found on campus, across Manchester and…

What's on: Literature

Yellow poster with Weird as Folk written on it
Weird As Folk exhibition at The Portico

The Portico Library’s latest exhibition, Weird As Folk, runs through to November and invites you to explore and reimagine folklore via texts selected from the collection, which includes 100 books of English folklore.

free entry
AJ West
AJ West at Truman Books

Bestselling author AJ West’s latest historical thriller The Betrayal of Thomas True has been described by Stephen Fry as “really very good” and Farsley independent Truman Books is giving you the chance to hear more.

from £8.00

Culture Guides