Monique Roffey, Trinidadian-born author of the book that won the 2020 Costa Book of the Year Award, will get the opportunity to reach an 80-million audience when her book is featured on a BBC programme.
Roffey will be in conversation with Harriet Gilbert, host of the popular BBC World Service’s radio programme World Book Club (98.7FM) that every month features a famous author discussing one of his or her books with the public listening across the world. (It is broadcast the first Monday of each month, repeated the following Monday.
The magical tale of The Mermaid of Black Conch is set in a fict
On December 4 at 8 am, The Mermaid of Black Conch will cast her spell over a world of listeners who love a good story, said a media release.
The magical tale of The Mermaid of Black Conch is set in a fictional seaside Caribbean village in the 1970s. Aycayia was once a beautiful woman but has been cursed by a woman jealous of her beauty. After centuries of lonely mermaid life, she is accidentally and cruelly fished by the hook of two American tourists taking part in a fishing competition and who want to sell her for big money, the release said.
“A beautiful and unexpectedly tender love story unfolds between her and her rescuer, a local fisherman, David. Under his patient care and in the safety of his home, she slowly regains her human form as her tail and scales fall away and she learns to speak and sing again. The backdrop is island life with all its village macos and corrupt policeman, the ghost of slavery and doomed love affairs, of missing fathers, misogny, shame and guilt. The bitter-sweet story is vibrantly and poignantly rendered and not without its comic moments,” the release said.
The Mermaid of Black Conch is Roffey’s seventh book. Her novels, which span a 20-year career, have been translated into 15 languages and shortlisted for several major awards in the past. In 2013, her environment-conscious novel Archipelago won the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, which led to a paperback edition that was chosen by her UK publishers as their summer book read, and they invested heavily in its promotion, the release said.
The Costa Book of the Year win was a significant breakthrough in the elusive world of literary success. Roffey’s literary star was already in the ascendant, since her second novel The White Woman on The Green Bicycle, set in TT, where the post-colonial story is set, had been shortlisted for the Orange Prize in 2010.
Now the mystical Mermaid of Black Conch has carried the gifted storyteller to the heights of literary stardom.The screen rights of The Mermaid of Black Conch have been sold and a feature film is now in the works. Roffey has also signed a book deal with Harville Secker and is currently working on a new book, The Harrowing.
From struggling writer who found paying the rent hard, the author has now sold 70,000 copies of her mermaid tale and become one of the most interviewed writers of 2021, but having a chance to reach 80 million book lovers is something she never dreamed of.
“I feel grateful to have my book so widely read and loved. It’s a complicated book, written in creole English and employs magical realism to the max, as well as multiple narrators, one being a mermaid. It was first published by Peepal Tree Press, as no mainstream publisher would go near it. From outsider indie press to widespread readership has been nothing short of a miracle,” Roffey said in the release.
Roffey was a guest on the NGC Bocas Lit Fest’s seasonal weekly Bios & Bookmarks interview series which is currently running.
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