Isabel Ashdown

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Writer Isabel Ashdown, by photographer Natalie Miller, 2014

Isabel Ashdown (born 30 August 1970 in London) is a British writer of contemporary fiction. She is the author of three novels. After giving up a career in marketing, she studied English & Creative Writing at the University of Chichester, UK, where she was awarded The Hugo Donnelly Prize for Outstanding Academic Achievement and completed her MA with distinction. She is currently Writer in Residence at the University of Brighton.

An extract from her debut novel Glasshopper won The Mail on Sunday Novel Competition judged by Fay Weldon and the late Sir John Mortimer, going on to be named as one of the best books of 2009 in the Observer and London Evening Standard.[1] Her second novel Hurry Up and Wait was released in 2011, followed by her latest Summer of '76 in 2013.[2]

Glasshopper, Hurry Up and Wait and Summer of '76 are all published in the UK by Myriad Editions.[3] Her latest book, Flight, will be released in May 2015.

Isabel Ashdown is represented by The Viney Agency.[4]


Isabel Ashdown was born in London and grew up in East Wittering on the south coast of England. She is the author of three novels, and winner of The Mail on Sunday Novel Competition. Her essay Voice and the Inescapable Complexity of Experience was recently published in Karen Steven's academic anthology Writing a First Novel (Palgrave MacMillan, 2014).

Isabel is Writer in Residence at University of Brighton, and she now lives in West Sussex with her husband, a carpenter, their two children and their dogs.[5]


Critical response[edit]

Isabel Ashdown is adept at portraying the bickering normalcy of ordinary family life. The Press Association[6]

Ashdown’s storytelling skills are formidable; her human insights highly perceptive. Mail on Sunday[7]

Incredibly perceptive ... just when you think you know what is going to happen, Ashdown subverts your expectations. We Love This Book[8]

An immaculately written novel with plenty of dark family secrets and gentle wit within. Recommended for book groups. Waterstone’s Books Quarterly[9]

A tender and subtle novel about alcoholism that explores difficult issues in deceptively easy prose. A wonderful debut – intelligent, understated and sensitive. Observer Books of the Year 2009[10]

A disturbing, thought-provoking tale of family dysfunction, spanning the second half of the 20th century, that guarantees laughter at the uncomfortable familiarity of it all. London Evening Standard Best Books of 2009[11]

Ashdown’s Glasshopper was one of our favourite books of 2009, and her second novel is another mix of compelling characters and 1980s nostalgia. Bella Magazine[12]

A brilliant debut. Sainsbury’s Magazine[13]

A heartbreaking redemptive tale of family secrets that will take you on an emotional rollercoaster. Glamour Magazine[14]

Carefully observed, unexpected and mesmerisingly beautiful. Easy Living[15]

Glasshopper is skilfully written and hard to put down. A page-turningly good read . . . a perceptive insight into alcohol’s hidden harm. Drink & Drugs Review[16]

External links[edit]

Author Links

Articles & Features


  1. ^ Nicolson, Juliet. "The best books of the year". Evening Standard. Retrieved 25 April 2014. 
  2. ^ Stevens, Karen. Writing a First Novel. Palgrave MacMillan, 2014, p.x.
  3. ^ 27/02/2014
  4. ^ 27/02/2014
  5. ^ Official website, homepage, 27/02/2014
  6. ^ The Press Association, 08/08/2013,
  7. ^ Mail on Sunday, September 2009, p9
  8. ^ We Love This Book, 04/07/2013,
  9. ^ Waterstones Books Quarterly, Summer 2009, p93
  10. ^ Observer Review, October 2009
  11. ^ London Evening Standard, October 2009
  12. ^ Bella magazine, September 2009, p57
  13. ^ Sainsbury magazine, November 2009, p23
  14. ^ Glamour magazine, November 2009, p214
  15. ^ Easy Living, November 2009, p16
  16. ^ Drink & Drugs Review, 07/09/2009, p16,