Shortlisted for the Guardian “Not the Booker” Award 2018
We came out here to begin again. We came out here for the clear air and a fresh start. No one said to us: beware of fresh starts. No one said to us: God knows what will begin.
Timely and suspenseful, Sealed is a gripping modern fable on motherhood, a terrifying portrait of ordinary people under threat from their own bodies and from the world around them. With elements of speculative fiction and the macabre, this is also an unforgettable story about a mother’s fight to survive.
Heavily pregnant Alice and her partner Pete are done with the city. Above all, Alice is haunted by the rumours of the skin sealing epidemic starting to infect the urban population. Surely their new remote mountain house will offer safety, a place to forget the nightmares and start their little family. But the mountains and their people hold a different kind of danger.With their relationship under intolerable pressure, violence erupts and Alice is faced with the unthinkable as she fights to protect her unborn child.
‘[A]n accomplished, slow-burning meditation on motherhood, pregnancy and love … The tense, gut-wrenching climax is a masterclass in sustained descriptive imagery: though it’s not for the faint-hearted, and expectant mothers might choose to steer clear, Sealed is a marvellous first novel.‘–The Guardian
‘Sealed is a harrowing, engaging, moving and deeply thoughtful text about motherhood, anxiety, conservation and romantic relationships: in short, it’s an absolute belter and exactly the kind of unique fiction that indie presses should be proud to publish. ’— Open Pen
‘[A] brilliant dystopian distillation of just about all the ecological fears a young parent can suffer from.’–The White Review, Books of the Year 2017
‘There is an unbearable truth about the modern world to be found in this book… What a delicate, provoking balance of apocalyptic vision and personal journey Sealed is. I loved it.’ –Aliya Whiteley, The Arrival of Missives
Published by Dead Ink Press (UK), October 2017; Titan Press (US), July 2019 (Buy Sealed here)
The Lost Art of Sinking
Shortlisted for the MMU Novella Award 2014
Winner of the Saboteur Award for Best Novella 2016
Selected for New Writing North: Read Regional 2017
Some call it the fainting game, others Indian Headrush – but it’s all the rage amongst the girls of Class 2B. “It make you go all rushy. You feel like you’re falling into a dream.”
This is the story of Esther, who lives in the Pennines with her father. Esther is obsessed with experimenting with different ways to pass out: from snorting Daz powder at school to attempted autoasphyxiation in a serviced apartment in North London. But what happens when you take something too far? And what has Esther’s mother, a beautiful dancer wasting away in her bedroom, to do with it all?
Naomi Booth’s lyrical and witty novella, The Lost Art of Sinking, could be the next big thing… Beautifully written with bursts of crisp poetic monologue and deadpan humour, the novella shows unusual talent. Naomi Booth is a name to watch.
— Prospect Magazine
Published by Penned in the Margins, 2015 (order The Lost Art of Sinking here)
“Cluster”, long-listed for the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award 2018; the Galley Beggars Short Story Prize 2018; anthologised in Best British Short Stories 2019 (Salt).
“Optography”, “Compression” and “Tall Tales” anthologised in the Quick Fiction app (Myriad Editions, Brighton: 2011-2015)
Dirty Realism: Christmas ’09
So we went up to Shell’s and the dogs were going mad. She walks them infrequently, at the dead of night; if anyone saw us, she says, the police might confiscate them. Trixie, an American Pit Bull, pinned me to the sofa and breathed meaty halitosis in my face; I could feel it condense in a dog-spittle film over my Christmas-Day make-up. “She probably won’t hurt you,” Shell said.