Jessica Andrews and Lara Williams at The Bank below The Portico Library

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor
Jessica Andrews
Author Jessica Andrews.

MILK TEETH - Jessica Andrews in conversation with Lara Williams at The Portico Library, Chinatown, 26 July 2022, from £3.00 - Book now

We’re back in the hostelry below Manchester’s best-kept library secret where the Portico Prize 2020 was awarded to then debut novelist Jessica Andrews – today she is launching her second book, Milk Teeth, reading extracts and chatting about it with Lara Williams, whose latest novel The Odyssey was published in April. The event is co-organised by The Portico Library and Blackwell’s Bookshop.

Jessica Andrews’ new book, Milk Teeth, is published by Hodder & Stoughton, and is described as “a beautifully told love story set across England, France and Spain”.

Born in 1992, Jessica Andrews is the youngest author to receive the prestigious Portico Prize, the so-called Booker of the North, celebrating, as it does, writing in and about the North. Published by Sceptre, her Portico Prize-winning novel Saltwater, described as “lyrical and boundary-breaking”, is a coming-of-age story that explores mother-daughter relationships and identity in relation to place and social class, and also to the body. The New York Times said: “Gorgeous… Andrews’s writing is transportingly voluptuous, conjuring tastes and smells and sounds like her literary godmother, Edna O’Brien.”

Jessica Andrews’ new book, Milk Teeth, is published by Hodder & Stoughton, and is described as “a beautifully told love story set across England, France and Spain”. Jessica grew up in Sunderland, like the protagonist in Saltwater, then swapped one port city for another by moving to Barcelona to work on her second novel – partly set in the Spanish city – and teach literature and creative writing to adults, young people and children.

Here’s what the Blackwell’s blurb says: “A girl grows up in the north-east of England amid scarcity, precarity and a toxic culture of bodily shame, certain that she must make herself ever smaller to be loved. Years later, living in tiny rented rooms and working in noisy bars across London and Paris, she fights to create her own life. She meets someone who cracks her open and offers her a new way to experience the world. But when he invites her to join him in Barcelona, the promise of pleasure and care makes her uneasy. In the shimmering heat of the Mediterranean, she faces the possibility of a different existence, and must choose what to hold on to from her past. How do we learn to take up space? Why might we deny ourselves good things? Milk Teeth is a story of desire and the body, shame and joy. In vivid and lyrical prose, and with deep compassion, Jessica Andrews examines what it means to allow ourselves to live.”

Aside from fiction, Jessica Andrews writes for the Guardian, the Independent, BBC Radio 4, Stylist and ELLE magazine, among others. She also co-runs and organises events with literary and arts magazine The Grapevine, which aims to give a platform to under-represented writers, and co-presents literary podcast Tender Buttons, a nod to Gertrude Stein. She now lives in Bristol and teaches Creative Writing at Roehampton University.

Lara Williams is the author of TreatsSupper Club and The Odyssey. Treats was shortlisted for the Republic of Consciousness Prize, the Edinburgh First Book Award and the Saboteur Awards and longlisted for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize, and Supper Club won the Guardian Not the Booker’Prize, was named as a Book of the Year 2019 by TIME and Vogue, and has been translated into six languages. Lara Williams lives in Manchester and teaches at Man Met’s Manchester Writing School, and she is a contributor to the Guardian, Independent, Times Literary Supplement, Vice, Dazed and others. In 2021 she was longlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award.

Milk Teeth by Jessica Andrews
Milk Teeth by Jessica Andrews

Doors 6pm; event starts 7pm. Tickets are £3 or free when pre-ordering a copy of the book from Blackwell's. This event is being held at The Bank which is situated below the Portico Library and will only be open to ticket holders. Drinks will be available to purchase at the bar before and after the talk.

MILK TEETH - Jessica Andrews in conversation with Lara Williams at The Portico Library, Chinatown

26 July 2022 6:00 pm
From £3.00

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