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This Book Event has already taken place - but you can watch the replay if you missed it

Julia Armfield — Private Rites

WithJulia Armfield
In conversation withHeather Parry

At: The Portobello Bookshop

On:21st June 2024, 7:00pm - 8:00pm

Julia Armfield — Private Rites at The Portobello Bookshop

We're delighted to give Julia Armfield a big Independent Bookshop Week welcome to the bookshop when she returns to discuss her new novel, Private Rites. We were lucky enough to celebrate the publication of Armfield's debut novel Our Wives Under the Sea with an event in March 2022 and we've all been eagerly anticipating what she'd write next!

This event will take place in the bookshop with an in-person audience, as well as a livestream for attendees watching from home. There will be a signing after the event.

In-person vouchers can be redeemed on the night of the event against a single copy of Private Rites – we will have a list of attendees with vouchers to be redeemed. Please note that only one voucher can be redeemed per book. Livestream vouchers are valid until the day after the event and can be redeemed on the website against a single copy of Private Rites.

About Private Rites:

There’s no way to bury a body in earth which is flooded

It is a fact consigned to history along with almost everything else

It’s been raining for a long time now, for so long that the lands have reshaped themselves. Old places have been lost.

Arcane rituals and religions have crept back into practice. Sisters Isla, Irene and Agnes have not spoken in some time when their estranged father dies. A famous architect revered for making the new world navigable, he had long cut himself off from public life.

They find themselves uncertain of how to grieve his passing when everything around them seems to be ending anyway. As the sisters come together to clear the grand glass house that is the pinnacle of his legacy, they begin to sense that the magnetic influence of their father lives on through it. Something sinister seems to be unfolding, something related to their mother’s long-ago disappearance and the strangers who have always been unusually interested in their lives.

Soon, it becomes clear that the sisters have been chosen for a very particular purpose, one with shattering implications for their family and their imperilled world.

Please note: Tickets for our events are non-refundable. Professional photography and videography may take place during this event. Thank you for your understanding.


Julia Armfield Author

Julia Armfield's work has been published in Granta, The White Review and Best British Short Stories 2019 and 2021. In 2019, she was shortlisted for the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year award. She was longlisted for the Deborah Rogers Award 2018, and won the White Review Short Story Prize 2018 and a Pushcart Prize in 2020. She is the author of salt slow, a collection of short stories, which was longlisted for the Polari Prize 2020 and the Edge Hill Prize 2020. Her debut novel, Our Wives Under The Sea, won the Polari Prize 2023 and was shortlisted for the Foyles Fiction Book of the Year Award 2022. She lives and works in London.

Heather Parry Chair

Heather Parry is a Glasgow-based writer and editor, originally from South Yorkshire. Her debut novel, Orpheus Builds a Girl, was shortlisted for the Saltire Society Fiction Book of the Year Award and longlisted for the Polari First Book Prize. She is also the author of a short story collection, This Is My Body, Given For You, and her first nonfiction book, Electric Dreams: On Sex Robots and the Failed Promises of Capitalism, was published in March 2024 as part of 404 Ink’s Inklings series.

The venue

The Portobello Bookshop

46 Portobello High Street
EH15 1DA

Telephone: 0131 629 6756


Wheelchair Access

We have a ramp at the front of the shop which has a ratio of 1:10 and loading capacity of 300kg, and so should be able to be used by most wheelchair users or those with mobility vehicles. The front doors are fully automated. Our shop interior is designed to allow access throughout for wheelchair users and prams, though please note there is only 700mm wide clearance to access the staff toilet.


We use a PA system to enhance the audio at our live events. We also have a hearing loop system installed, if you’d like to use our loop system during an event please let us know and we’ll make sure we have it set up and connected to the live audio feed during the event. If you wish to attend an event and require BSL interpretation, please give us a few weeks notice and we’ll do our best to arrange an interpreter.