An Evening with Bernardine Evaristo on “Blonde Roots”

Event time: 
Monday, November 16, 2009 (All day)
Location: 
Labyrinth Books See map
290 York Street
Event description: 

Bernardine Evaristo has published one prose novel, one novella, two novels-in-verse and one novel-with-verse. She is also a recipient of the Member of the British Empire award.

This event was meant to celebrate and to discuss with Ms. Bernardine Evaristo her latest novel Blonde Roots. The event took place at Labyrinth Books and Professor Caryl Phillips served as moderator. Ms. Evaristo’s Blonde Roots explores social, ethical, and historical issues: the most controversial of all being the reversal of the transatlantic slave trade. The novel concerns itself with what it means for Africans to assume the role of mastery over Europeans.

Ms. Evaristo notes on her website: “Welcome to a world turned upside down. Welcome to the world of Doris. One minute she’s this cute little girl playing hide-and-seek with her sisters in the fields behind their cottage. The next, someone puts a bag over her head and she ends up in the stinking hold of a slave ship sailing to the New World. When she finally arrives on a strange, tropical island, she discovers she is a pig-ugly savage with a brain the size of a pea, whose only purpose in life is to please her mistress. Doris observes slavery from both sides. As an adult she becomes the personal assistant of her formidable master, Bwana, a.k.a. Chief Kaga Konata Katamba I. She also experiences the horrors of life in the sugarcane fields, where slaves are worked to death under the blazing sun. Doris dreams of escape, of finding those she has loved and lost, of returning home to her motherland: England.” 

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