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Joelle Taylor on The Night Alphabet, a Toppings Event

22 February @ 7:30 pm 9:00 pm

Joelle Taylor on The Night Alphabet

Toppings are overjoyed to welcome T.S. Eliot prizewinning poet, performer, and playwright Joelle Taylor to the bookshop for her debut novel The Night Alphabet.

‘Joelle Taylor has a Midas touch with words’ – Diana Souhami

Set across geographies and timespans, The Night Alphabet is a dazzlingly bold and original work, a deep investigation into human nature and violence against women.


A woman walks into a tattoo parlour. But this is no ordinary woman, and this is Hackney in 2233. Jones’ body is covered in tattoos but she wants to add one final inking to her gallery – a thin line of ink mixed with blood that connects her body art together, creating a unique map.

As the two artists set to work, Jones tells them the story behind each tattoo. We visit the dystopian cities of the Quiet Men, the coal mines of 19th century Lancashire, join a gang of vigilante sex workers, enter the world of an INCEL murderer, haunt the old Maryville gay bar, and uncover plans to genetically modify female children. Each of the stories brings us closer to Jones’ truth, and how her life is intricately interwoven with that of the women tattooing her body.


Joelle Taylor is a queer, working class author of six plays and four collections of poetry, most recently C+nto & Othered Poems, winner of the 2022 T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry. A former UK poetry slam champion, Joelle founded the national youth slam championships, SLAMbassadors. Joelle has lead workshops and residences in schools, prisons, refugee groups and many other settings for organisations including the Poetry Society, the British Council, the Arvon Foundation and English PEN. She was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2022.

York Street
Bath, BA1 1NG United Kingdom
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