Monique Roffey: Conjuring the Spirit of the Caribbean

The Mermaid of Black Conch is an adventurous novel set on a Caribbean island, deploying magic realism to tell very real truths about the region and its history of colonisation and slavery. We are thrilled to welcome its author to the Festival to talk about her book and the setting that inspired it. Monique Roffey won this year’s Costa Book of the Year award for The Mermaid of Black Conch, her story of a mermaid rescued by a young fisherman after being pulled from the sea by tourists. The mermaid’s name is Aycayia, and she is the spirit of a young woman from the indigenous Taino people of the Black Conch Island. Most Taino people were slaughtered by Europeans, and Aycayia has been banished to the sea on account of her ‘irksome beauty’. It is a vibrant novel that portrays love affairs as well as ancient hatreds cascading down from a history of colonisation.

In this event, which was filmed live at the 2021 Edinburgh International Book Festival, Jeda Pearl speaks to Roffey and journeys into the uniquely original but emphatically Caribbean world.

Buy her book in our online Festival Bookshop

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