About Sophie Mackintosh
Sophie Mackintosh is the author of novels The Water Cure (2018), Blue Ticket (2020), and Cursed Bread (2023). The Water Cure was longlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize. Her fiction, non-fiction and poetry has appeared in The New York Times, Granta, Dazed, Guardian, and The Stinging Fly, amongst others. In 2020 she was picked as ‘a face set to define the decade ahead’ by Vogue UK, alongside writers Jia Tolentino and Oyinkan Braithwaite.
She has read from her work widely and appeared on panels for organisations including Edinburgh International Book Festival, The BBC, National Portrait Gallery, Faber Academy, The British Academy, and Frieze. She has also taught fiction for organisations such as Arvon, The University of Warwick, and Guardian Masterclasses.
She has been writer in residence at the Paris Writer’s Residency, Prague City of Literature, and Gladstone’s Library. She currently lives and works in London.
Picture credit: Sophie Davidson
About Cursed Bread
From the Booker-nominated author of The Water Cure and Blue Ticket comes a chilling new feminist fable, based on the true story of an unsolved historical mystery…
If you eat the bread, you’ll die, he said. The statement made no sense, but it filled me with an electric dread.
Elodie is the baker’s wife. A plain, unremarkable person, largely ignored by her husband and everyone else, she burns with the secret hunger to be extraordinary, to be desired, to be seen. One day a charismatic new couple appear in town – the ambassador and his sharp-toothed wife, Violet – and Elodie quickly falls under their spell.
All summer long she stalks them through the shining streets: inviting herself into their home, trying to decipher their coded conversations, longing to possess them at any cost. Meanwhile, beneath the tranquil surface of daily life, strange things are happening. Six horses are found dead in a sun-drenched field, laid out neatly on the ground like an offering.
Widows see their lost husbands walking up the river in the night, coming back to claim them. A teenage boy throws himself into the bonfire at the midsummer feast. A dark intoxication is spreading through the town, and when Elodie finally understands her role in it, it will be too late to stop.
Audacious and mesmerising, Cursed Bread is a fevered confession, an entry into memory’s hall of mirrors, a fable of obsession and transformation. Sophie Mackintosh spins a darkly gleaming tale of a town gripped by hysteria, envy like poison in the blood, and desire that burns and consumes.
About Sian Norris
Sian Norris is a writer and human rights journalist. Her work is published in Byline Times, the Guardian, the New Statesman, openDemocracy and elslewhere. She is the author of Bodies Under Siege: How the far right attack on reproductive rights went global, published by Verso Books in 2023. She founded the Bristol Women’s Literature Festival which ran from 2012-2020. Follow her on Twitter at @sianushka and on Substack at Sianushka Writes.