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The Manningtree Witches: A.K. Blakemore Live Tarot Interview with Jen Cownie

Virtual Event

March 9, 2021 @ 19:30 21:00 GMT

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Free

Join us when we welcome A.K. Blakemore for a live tarot interview with Jen Cownie of Litwitchure. The event will be streaming Instagram Live to celebrate the publication of A.K. Blakemore’s hugely anticipated debut novel, THE MANNINGTREE WITCHES.

Fear takes root in the women of Manningtree when the Witchfinder General comes to town.

Caught amidst betrayal and persecution, what must Rebecca West do to survive?

England, 1643. Parliament is battling the King; the war between the Roundheads and the Cavaliers rages. Puritanical fervour has gripped the nation, and the hot terror of damnation burns black in every shadow.

In Manningtree, depleted of men since the wars began, the women are left to their own devices. At the margins of this diminished community are those who are barely tolerated by the affluent villagers – the old, the poor, the unmarried, the sharp-tongued. Rebecca West, daughter of the formidable Beldam West, fatherless and husbandless, chafes against the drudgery of her days, livened only by her infatuation with the clerk John Edes. But then newcomer Matthew Hopkins, a mysterious, pious figure dressed from head to toe in black, takes over The Thorn Inn and begins to ask questions about the women of the margins. When a child falls ill with a fever and starts to rave about covens and pacts, the questions take on a bladed edge.

The Manningtree Witches 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. It is a visceral, thrilling book that announces a bold new talent.

A. K. Blakemore is the author of two full-length collections of poetry: Humbert Summer and Fondue which was awarded the 2019 Ledbury Forte Prize for Best Second Collection. She has also translated the work of Sichuanese poet Yu Yoyo. Her 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 is her debut novel.

Jen Cownie is one half of Litwitchure, the UK’s first and only literary tarot cabaret and consultancy. Litwitchure has been interviewing authors and celebrities via the medium of live tarot readings since 2018: letting the cards take the conversation where they will… which always means unexpected places. Previous interviewees include Nina Stibbe, Jarvis Cocker, Lucy Mangan, Sandra Newman, and Caroline O’Donoghue.