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The Night Alphabet

On sale

15th February 2024

Price: £18.99

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Selected: Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781529430936

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‘Joelle Taylor has a Midas touch with words’ Diana Souhami
A Cosmo best books to look forward to in 2024 pick
‘A glorious jewel of a novel’ Sophie Ward
‘Exhilarating, profoundly beautiful and exquisitely written’ Salena Godden
A mesmerising debut from one of the most talented literary stylists writing today’ The Bookseller
Hugely imaginative’ Marie Claire (Best New Books, 2024)
‘It’s hard to think of many books more restlessly inventive’ Guardian (Book of the Day)
‘Utterly dazzling’ DIVA


The tattoo was a reclamation, a flag we mounted in the centre of our own landscape.

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. As Jones is no ordinary woman, these are no ordinary stories: each one represents a doorway to a life Jones fell into, a ‘remembering’. Some of these lives were in the past, others in the future, some are sideways, but each of them connects Jones to the two tattoo artists in some way, though they are unaware of it.

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.

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.


Hollie McNish
Ooof. This story. Hackney, 2233. A dystopian tale untangled through tattoos. Joelle's writing, as with her poetry recitals, feels so physical, and leaves me breathless.
Sophie Ward, author of Love and Other Thought Experiments
The Night Alphabet is a glorious jewel of a novel, rich with language and story, that glows in your mind's eye long after you have set it down. Taylor manages to combine her vivid poetry with a truly engaging tale of female resilience, an Illustrated Woman for our times.
Salena Godden
Joelle Taylor's debut novel The Night Alphabet is phenomenal. This book is exhilarating, profoundly beautiful and exquisitely written, it is poetic, empowered, courageous. The Night Alphabet is an inspired piece of truly magical and brilliant story telling.
The Bookseller
A mesmerising debut from one of the most talented literary stylists writing today.
Marie Claire (Best New Books, 2024)
This hugely imaginative debut by TS Elliott-prizewinning poet Taylor pulls no punches... a fierce, tender - at times highly uncomfortable - study of power, agency and resilience.
The Skinny
Exquisitely written . . . Joelle Taylor reveals herself as an extraordinary storyteller.
Unsurprisingly, Joelle's lyrical prose is utterly dazzling and her imagination is highly original, resulting in an arresting, absorbing book that will stay with you long after you put it down. Both bold and brilliant.