An evening with Liverpool author, Ashleigh Nugent

Ashleigh Nugent’s book ‘Locks’ explores the prison system, growing up, wising up, and finding your place in a world of opposites.

Join us in St Helens Library during Black History Month as we chat with Ashleigh and find out what inspired his book and his career.


This event is part of New Writing North’s Northern Bookshelf.

About Locks

‘1993 was the year that Stephen Lawrence got murdered by racists, and I became an angry Black lad with a “chip on his shoulder”’

Aeon, a mixed-up and mixed-race teenager from a leafy Liverpool suburb, is desperate to understand the Black identity thrust upon him. He grows dreadlocks and immerses himself in ‘gangsta’ rap. But Aeon’s journey of self-discovery is hampered by the fact that the only Black people in his life are his dad and his cousin, Increase.

Aeon’s ambition to find his place in the world takes him to Jamaica. Here, Aeon soon finds that smoking loads of weed, growing messy locks and wearing massive red boots don’t necessarily help him to fit in. Within days of his arrival he is mugged, arrested and banged up in a Jamaican detention centre. Seen as the ‘White boy’, he finds that his journey of self-discovery has only just begun – and he’s going to have to fight for the respect and recognition he deserves . . .

About Ashleigh Nugent

Ashleigh’s debut novel LOCKS was signed to Picador Books in 2021.

2021 also saw Ashleigh awarded Artist of the Year in the Liverpool City Region Culture and Creativity Awards. Later that year he co-curated the opening weekend at the Shakespeare North Playhouse in Knowsley, was the first person to perform Shakespeare in its traditional cockpit theatre, and became a special advisor there. But it wasn’t always this way. This new theatre faces the police station where Ashleigh was locked up by racist police many times as a teenager. It faces the pub where he had his first pint, at fourteen years of age. It is built on the car park where he was once threatened with an axe by racist thugs.

Through his organisation, RiseUp, Ashleigh now teaches others how to see their past challenges as the origin myth of their own Hero’s Journey, how to rewrite their own life stories and how to create their own destinies.

Event details

Books will be available to purchase on the night from our wonderful friends at St Helens Book Stop.

Book Ticket Here

Date and time: Wednesday, October 23 · 6 – 7:30pm GMT+1

TICKETS: £8, £7 (St Helens Library Card Holders), £5 (Concessions).

St Helens Library – ca parking charges apply (The World of Glass), accessible entry, accessible toilet