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

Part of our Literature guide

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

Jenn Ashworth and Kylie Whitehead in conversation with Naomi Booth., 19 October 2021, 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

Jenn Ashworth and Kylie Whitehead in conversation with Naomi Booth.

19 October 2021 7:00 pm
From £5