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Reviews

About the Book

A powerfully poignant tale of one of the most turbulent moments in Scotland's history: the North Berwick Witch Trials.

IT’S THE 4TH OF DECEMBER 1591.

On this, the last night of her life, in a prison cell several floors below Edinburgh’s High Street, convicted witch Geillis Duncan receives a mysterious visitor – Iris, who says she comes from a future where women are still persecuted for who they are and what they believe.

As the hours pass and dawn approaches, Geillis recounts the circumstances of her arrest, brutal torture, confession and trial, while Iris offers support, solace – and the tantalising prospect of escape.

Hex is a visceral depiction of what happens when a society is consumed by fear and superstition, exploring how the terrible force of a king’s violent crusade against ordinary women can still be felt, right up to the present day.

'This series has already produced two works of note and distinction. It raises the question – if a country cannot re-tell its history, will it be stuck forever in aspic and condemned to be nothing more than a shortbread tin illustration? Hex and Rizzio are showing the way towards a reckoning, and about time too’ – Stuart Kelly, Scotland on Sunday


The Author

Jenni Fagan

Dr Jenni Fagan is an award-winning poet, novelist and screenwriter. After the publication of her debur novel The Panopticon, Jenni was selected as one of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists. She has been on lists including the Desmond Elliott Prize, James Tait Black, Sunday Times Short Story Prize and the BBC International Story Prize. The Sunlight Pilgrims saw her win Scottish Author of the Year at the Herald Culture Awards. Her third novel Luckenbooth was praised in The New York Times Book Review, who named her The Patron Saint of Literary Street Urchins. In 2022, Polygon published her most recent novel, Hex, and The Bone Library, a poetry collection written during her time as a Writer in Residence at the Dick Vet Bone Library. In 2024, her memoir Ootlin is due to be published, as is her seventh poetry collection A Swan's Neck on the Butcher's Block. Fagan recently wrote two hundred poems for a collectors book called Heart of the Spirit, celebrating 200 years of The Macallan whisky.

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