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Tue, 31 Oct


Pickering Book Tree

Naomi Kelsey

Hear from historical fiction author Naomi Kelsey about her gripping novel inspired by the incredible true story that set 16th-century Scotland and Denmark alight.

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Naomi Kelsey
Naomi Kelsey

Time & Location

31 Oct 2023, 19:30 – 21:00

Pickering Book Tree, 43a Market Pl, Pickering YO18 7AL, UK

About the event

We are excited to host Naomi Kelsey for an atmospheric autumn evening talking about her debut historical fiction novel about the North Berwick witch trials.

The Burnings is a gripping reimagining of the persecution of women accused of witchcraft and the fear that drove it, that doesn’t shy away from the realities of the time period.

You can read an interview with Naomi about her writing and how teaching her Year 7 English class about Macbeth inspired her here.

The event will include a talk and readings, plus the opportunity to ask questions and have copies of the book signed. As always, tickets are free and we will provide complementary wine or cordial, and a cosy evening in the bookshop.

About Naomi Kelsey

Naomi Kelsey is the winner of two Northern Writers’ Awards and of the HWA Dorothy Dunnett Competition 2021. Her fiction has been published in Mslexia magazine and shortlisted for several further awards including the Bridport Prize and the Bristol Prize. She also writes book reviews for ‘On the Tudor Trail’. She lives in Newcastle with her husband, young daughter and their dog, and by day teaches English at a large secondary school. The Burnings is her first novel.

The Book Blurb

Nothing scares men like witchcraft…

1589. Scottish housemaid Geillis and Danish courtier Margareta lead opposite lives, but they both know one thing: when a man cries “witch”, no woman is safe.

Yet when the marriage of King James VI and Princess Anna of Denmark brings Geillis and Margareta together, everything they supposed about good, evil, men, and women, is cast in a strange and brilliant new light.

For the first time in history, could black magic – or rumours of it – be a very real tool for women’s political gain?

As the North Berwick witch trials whip Scotland – and her king – into a frenzy of paranoia, the clock is ticking. Can Margareta and Geillis keep each other safe? And once the burnings are over, in whose hands will power truly lie?

Inspired by the incredible true story that set 16th-century Scotland and Denmark alight, The Burnings is 2023’s most bewitching debut novel, by a multi-awardwinning new star of historical fiction.

I was mesmerised’ Laura Shepperson, Sunday Times bestselling author of The Heroines

This gripping, vividly evoked novel takes the reader to the dark heart of the 16th century … unforgettable' Tracy Borman, author of The King’s Witch

A beautifully written re-imagining … clever and tantalising’ S.G. MacLean


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