Meet the new stars of historical fiction, uncovering the hidden stories of our past and using them to shed light on today’s world. A. K. Blakemore and Guinevere Glasfurd explore repressive regimes and the women surviving within them — from the 17th-century witch trials of England, to state censorship in Enlightenment France.
A.K. Blakemore’s poetic debut novel The Manningtree Witches (winner of the Desmond Elliott Prize 2021) plunges its readers into the fever and menace of the English witch trials, where suspicion, mistrust and betrayal ran amok as the power of men went unchecked and the integrity of women went undefended.
In Privilege, Costa-shortlisted author Guinevere Glasfurd spins a story of adventure and mishap set against the turmoil of mid-18th century France, at a time when books required royal privilege before they could be published. It is a vibrant world of entitlement and danger, where the right to live and think freely could come at the highest cost.
About the writers
A.K. Blakemore is the author of two full-length collections of poetry: Humbert Summer (Eyewear, 2015) and Fondue (Offord Road Books, 2018), which was awarded the 2019 Ledbury Forte Prize for Best Second Collection. She has also translated the work of Sichuanese poet Yu Yoyo (My Tenantless Body, Poetry Translation Centre, 2019). Her poetry and prose writing has been widely published and anthologised, appearing in The London Review of Books, Poetry, Poetry Review and The White Review, among others. The Manningtree Witches (Granta, 2021) is her first novel.
‘I loved this riveting, appalling, addictive debut. Blakemore captures the shame of poverty and social neglect unforgettably, and the alluring threat of women left alone together, in a novel which vividly immerses the reader in the world of those who history has tried to render mute’ – Megan Nolan
Guinevere Glasfurd is a critically acclaimed novelist. Her third novel, Privilege, a story of book publishing and censorship in pre-revolutionary France, will be published in May 2022.
Her debut novel, The Words in My Hand, was shortlisted for the 2016 Costa First Novel Award and Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award and was longlisted in France for the Prix du Roman FNAC. Her second novel, The Year Without Summer, was written with support from the MacDowell Foundation, longlisted for the Walter Scott Historical Fiction Prize 2021 and shortlisted for the HWA Gold Crown Award 2020.
Awarded grants from the Arts Council England and the British Council for her work, her writing has also appeared in The Scotsman, Mslexia and in a collection published by the National Galleries of Scotland. Originally from Lancaster, she now lives near Cambridge with her husband and daughter.
‘Superb…a stay-up-all-night page-turner…a beautifully written, angry, unflinching and unforgettable novel’ – Financial Times
Venue: National Centre for Writing
Duration: 60 Minutes
Under 18: £7.50
Essential Companions: Any audience member requiring an essential carer/companion can get one free ticket. Relevant discounts or concessions still apply to the paid ticket.
Young NNF: £7.50 tickets for ages 18-25 with our FREE YoungNNF membership. Sign up here
Select a performance
£7.50 - £8.00
Image Credit: Masthead A.K Blakemore © Sophie Davidson
City of Literature is a Norfolk & Norwich Festival and National Centre for Writing presentation, programmed by the National Centre for Writing.