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Sequins for a Ragged Hem
Sequins for a Ragged Hem

Sequins for a Ragged Hem

An Island Journey


Black Britain Writing Back


320 Pages, 5 x 7.75

Formats: Trade Paper

Trade Paper, $19.99 (US $19.99)

Publication Date: October 2023

ISBN 9780241995754

Rights: US

Penguin Random House UK (Oct 2023)

Price: $19.99


Sequins for a Ragged Hem narrates Johnson's return tour to Trinidad as a spiritual homecoming made problematic, among other reasons, by the fact that the house where she was born had been demolished.

'Memories demanded that I complete this book. If what I experienced was, in fact, a haunting, I believe I have now laid these ghosts to rest in a style which I hope will satisfy even the most determined ones.'

Amryl Johnson came to England from Trinidad when she was eleven. In 1983 she set off for a six month journey in the Caribbean.

From the moment she steps off the plane into 'carnival fever', we are caught up in the excitement of her journey: her reunion with her mother, the exhilaration of dancing all night to calypso on the streets of Port-of-Spain . . .

But she cannot escape, nor wants to, from the inheritance of colonialism. Her time in the Caribbean is also a journey of the self. The quest for memory is as powerful as the desire to escape.

As her trip draws to a close, she describes with courage and eloquence her attempts to reunite the selves that have been separated by different cultures.


"A powerful and unusual book, in that it combines the familiar traveller's tales with an account of another kind of journey and process of discovery, as Johnson confronts the 'ghost who was haunting herself' in order that she might come to terms with her sense of a fragmented identity." —Guardian

Author Biography

Amryl Johnson was a poet, born in Trinidad; she moved to Britain as a child. Graduating from Kent University, she quickly established herself as a poet and skilled performer.