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* SHORTLISTED FOR THE PORTICO PRIZE 2022 *
A deeply affecting and unconventional love story, shot through with anger, black humour and grief.
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.
How do you write a novel?
Practising novelists and teachers of creative writing reveal their working methods and offer practical advice. Subjects covered range from magic realism to characterisation, surrealism to historical fiction, via perspective, plot twists and avoiding being boring, among many others.
This book is for
creative writing students
writers and readers of novels
teachers of creative writing
With contributions from Leone Ross, Tom Bromley, Jenn Ashworth, AJ Dalton, Nikesh Shukla, Stella Duffy, Mark Morris, Alison Moore, Nicholas Royle, Alice Thompson, Kerry Hudson, Toby Litt, Livi Michael, Joe Stretch, James Miller, Sarah Butler, Will Wiles, Graeme Shimmin
Eighteen specially commissioned essays
Creative writing exercises
Lists of recommended novels
It's Friday in the Leeke household, but this is no ordinary Friday and the Leekes are a little unusual: they are Lancastrian Mormons, and this evening their son Gary will return from 2 years as a missionary in Salt Lake City.
His mother is planning a celebratory dinner - with difficulty, since she's virtually housebound with an undiagnosed, embarrassing condition. What she doesn't realise is that the rest of the family - her meek husband, disturbed oldest son, and teenage daughter - have other plans for the evening, each involving drastic and irrevocable action.
As the narrative baton passes from one Leeke to the next, disaster inexorably looms. Except that nothing goes according to plan, and the outcome is as unexpected as it is shocking. Giving a fascinating insight into the Mormon way of life, this blackly funny tale of innocence betrayed shows the havoc religion can wreak.
Orla Nelson used to be a famous writer and now she’s seeking a comeback. Alice Wells wants to make something of herself before it’s too late. In The Night Visitors these two women, connected by blood and ambition, investigate their ancestor Hattie Soak, a silent film star who fled the scene of a gruesome unsolved crime. Told entirely via an exchange of emails, The Night Visitors is a story of ghosts, obsession and inherited evil.
This novella traces the ways in which technology can hold and transmit our worst secrets and unspoken fears, and what happens when uneasy collaborations start to unravel.
“Hilary Mantel and Helen Simpson feature in the nation’s favourite annual guide to the short story, now in its fifth year …”
Best British Short Stories invites you to judge a book by its cover – or more accurately, by its title. This new series aims to reprint the best short stories published in the previous calendar year by British writers, whether based in the UK or elsewhere. The editor’s brief is wide ranging, covering anthologies, collections, magazines, newspapers and web sites, looking for the best of the bunch to reprint all in one volume.
Authors include Hilary Mantel, Alison Moore, Jenn Ashworth, Helen Simpson, Charles Wilkinson, Rebecca Swirsky, Matthew Sperling, Julianne Pachico, KJ Orr, Bee Lewis, Uschi Gatward, Emma Cleary and Neil Campbell.
Notes Made While Falling is both a genre-bending memoir and a cultural study of traumatized and sickened selves in fiction and film. It offers a fresh, visceral, and idiosyncratic perspective on creativity, spirituality, illness, and the limits of fiction itself. At its heart is a story of a disastrously traumatic childbirth, its long aftermath, and the out-of-time roots of both trauma and creativity in an extraordinary childhood.
Moving from fairgrounds to Agatha Christie, from literary festivals to neuroscience and the Bible, from Chernobyl to King Lear, Ashworth takes us on a fantastic journey through familiar landscapes transformed through unexpected encounters and comic combinations. The everyday provides the ground for the macabre and the absurd, as the narration twists and stretches time. Hovering on the edge of madness, writing, it seems, might keep us sane—or might just allow us to keep on living.
In Notes Made While Falling, Ashworth calls for a redefinition of the creative work of thinking, writing, teaching, and being, and she underlines the necessity of a fearlessly compassionate and empathic attention to vulnerability and fragility.
All of the stories in this collection have been inspired by other works of art: paintings, sculptures, TV programmes, films, music and more. As a result they are imbued with something of the original, but then take off into new and often surprising directions.
Scraps features stories from Jenny Adamthwaite, Jenn Ashworth, Oliver Barton, Alan Beard, Natalie Bowers, Cathy Bryant, Joanna Campbell, Nuala Ní Chonchúir, James Coates, Claire Collison, Chris Connolly, L.A. Craig, Judy Darley, Ariel Dawn, Vanessa Gebbie, Kylie Grant, David Gullen, David Hartley, Kevlin Henney, Tania Hershman, Sarah Hilary, H Anthony Hildebrand, Eva Holland, Holly Howitt, Thaddeus Howze, Anouska Huggins, Claire Ibarra, Paul Kavanagh, RM Kealy, John Keating, Calum Kerr, Clare Kirwan, Mark Kockelbergh, Emma J. Lannie, Cathy Lennon, Beverly C. Lucey, Amy Mackelden, R A Martens, Ana Martinez, Thomas McColl, Stephen McGeagh, Danielle McLaughlin, Siobhán McNamara, Freya Morris, Andrea Mullaney, Clay Norman, John Paul O'Neill, Sonya Oldwin, Jim O'Loughlin, Amanda Oosthuizen, Jonathan Pinnock, Dan Powell, Amanda Quinn, Eabha Rose, Sam Russell, Shelley Day Sclater, Emma Shaw, Ian Shine, Diane Simmons, Tim Stevenson, Becky Tipper, Stella Turner, Tracey Upchurch, Bart Van Goethem, Alison Wells and Brendan Way.
Funny, sad, exciting, intriguing, experimental and traditional, Scraps is a snapshot of the best in contemporary flash fiction.
“Extremely intense and powerfully intriguing.”
“[Ashworth] Evokes a damaged mind with the empathy and confidence of Ruth Rendell.”
—The Times (London)
Cold Light by Jenn Ashworth is a hauntingly beautiful and shocking psychological thriller in the vein of the bestselling novels of Tana French—a darkly compelling story of secrets between two teenage friends in a small English town. Ashworth already has created great buzz in the U.K. thanks to her stunning debut novel, A Kind of Intimacy, winner of the prestigious Betty Trask Award, and now Cold Light places her in elite literary company—alongside Laura Lippman, Kate Atkinson, and other acclaimed masters of intelligent, emotionally powerful mystery and suspense. An unforgettable tale of friendship and memory—and the shattering truth behind a forgotten dead body newly unearthed—Cold Light is a most welcome addition to the crime fiction and thriller ranks.
Original tales by remarkable writers
Hometown Tales is a series of books pairing exciting new voices with some of the most talented and important writers at work today. Some of the tales are fiction and some are narrative non-fiction - they are all powerful, fascinating and moving, and aim to celebrate regional diversity and explore the meaning of home.
In these pages on Lancashire, you'll find two unique tales. 'After the Funeral, the Crawl' is an arresting portrait of a couple forced to confront a dark secret over the course of a pub crawl one night in Preston, by award-winning novelist Jenn Ashworth. 'JUDAS!' is a vivid, coming-of-age story that traces the political and cultural history of Manchester, from its industrial past to its eventual separation from the county, by Benjamin Webster.
Ich sitze auf der Couch und schaue Nachrichten. Sie sind alle da: Chloes Eltern, der Bürgermeister und der ganze Rest. Am Weiher versammelt, für die Zeremonie. Zehn Jahre ist es jetzt her, dass Chloe und Carl ertrunken sind, und endlich soll es ein Mahnmal geben - einen bescheuerten Pavillon. Der Bürgermeister setzt zum Spatenstich an. Man sieht ihnen an, dass irgendwas nicht stimmt. Aber nur ich weiß sofort, dass der Bürgermeister einen Toten gefunden hat. Und nur ich weiß, wer es ist...
"Tief bewegend - aus der Feder einer wahren Erzählerin" The Independent.
"Rau und düster - ein kompromissloses Porträt der Jugend" Sunday Times.
"Ein höchst ungewöhnliches Vergnügen: ein literarischer Pageturner! Dies ist im besten Sinne ein unbequemes Buch" Sunday Times.
"Ein kühler, schwarzhumoriger Roman mit einem surrealen Touch" Grazia.
"Ein psychologischer Thriller der Extraklasse" The Age.