Chloe Michelle Howarth is an Irish writer, living and working in West Cork.
She first became interested in literature as a teenager, and in 2015, she moved to Dublin to study English, Media, and Cultural Studies in IADT Dun Laoghaire. During her time in college, she developed her love of writing, as well as performing and traveling.
Since graduating, she has returned to the countryside, where she has been endlessly inspired by the landscapes, culture, and people of rural Ireland.
In the small Irish village of Crossmore in the early 1990s, Lucy feels out of place. She struggles to adhere to the social mores of school, and the traditional path of marriage and children doesn’t appeal to her at all. But from the first game of kiss-chase in the playground, there is a spark between her and her classmate Susannah. The girls grow older and Lucy attempts to hides her infatuation, until one summer, when things escalate.
Lucy must then start to live a double life; a performative life, in which she dates the farmer’s son that everyone assumes she will marry, and one secret life in which she and Susannah are desperately in love.
But whereas Susannah wants the couple to be open about their relationship, Lucy resists. The tension between her two lives grows to a head as the opportunity to leave Crossmore looms, and Lucy is forced to choose between these two lives – each as terrifying as the other.
Sunburn is an astute, evocative portrayal of first love, adolescent anxieties, and the realities of growing up in a small rural town – from the long, hot summers spent drinking in fields, to the pressures of a conservative, traditional community where everyone knows each other’s business – all of which provide a vivid backdrop to Lucy and Susannah’s growing romance.