Latest news and events from Monique Roffey

Find a list of upcoming and previous events featuring Monique Roffey and The Mermaid of Black Conch. You can see Monique reading from the book on Twitter (no account needed).

Check out the latest reviews of The Mermaid of Black Conch.

TOBC wins the Costa Novel fo the Year Award 2020

Monique Roffey was announced as winner of the Costa Novel fo the Year Award on Tuesday 26 January. Shortly after The Mermaid of Black Conch took the £30,000 prize, the Guardian published a detailed article about the judges' decision and called the book 'a classic in the making'. The Loop said:

...As Roffey and Peepal Tree proudly hashtagged #Caribbean and #CaribbeanAuthors in their celebratory tweets, Bocas Lit Fest founder and director Marina Salandy-Brown remarked that it was “a tremendous win for everything Caribbean when our extraordinary talent, stories and hard-fought victories in publishing and literature are elevated with such prestigious accolades like this”.

She added that “all of us in the Bocas community are overjoyed for Monique and Peepal Tree Press, whose energy and work in expanding the written word further beyond its evocative reach, could not be more deserving of this Award.”

The Costa Book Awards is one of the UK's most coveted and popular book prizes and celebrates the “most enjoyable books of the year” by writers resident in the UK and Ireland. The administrators’ media message advised that “the last 10 Costa Book of the Year winners alone have gone on to sell a combined total of just over 1.8 million copies”. Both Roffey and Persaud live between the UK and the Caribbean...

The Herald wrote an article titled 'Love story featuring mermaid named book of the year'.

The Guardian also featured an interview with Monique titled '"I'm flabbergasted": Monique Roffey on women, whiteness and winning the Costa'.

The Bookseller also covered the win (paywalled).

TOBC wins the Costa Best Novel Award 2020

We are pleased to announce that Monique Roffey's The Mermaid of Black Conch has won the Costa Best Novel Award. The judges said Monique's book 'combines a seductive fable with the visceral realism of a Caribbean island'. Meanwhile, on BBC Front Row, Jade Cuttle described the book as 'a joy to read', while Irenosen Okojie called Monique 'a daring writer'.

Previous news and events

Monique Roffey and Shivanee Ramlochan were in conversation for Bios and Bookmarks, as part of the NGC Bocas Lit Fest. You can watch the video on Facebook (you don't need an account).

Monique Roffey appeared in conversation with Paula Shields at the Listowel Writers' Week at the Dublin Book Festival on 4 December 2020 from 7-8pm.

Monique Roffey gave a rundown of her top 10 mermaids over at The Guardian.

Monique Roffey was interviewed by The New Statesman last week.

Recently, Monique was on BBC Radio's Front Row to discuss trauma in writing.

Monique also read from the book for the Goldsmiths Prize on 5 November 2020 (watch the video on Twitter).

Over the summer, Monique joined Jacob Ross to talk fiction and new books at Bocas Lit Fest 2020.

Monique also appeared at TTLITCON at UWI in late September and the Brooklyn Caribbean Lit Fest 2020.

Monique also appeared on BBC Radio 4's Everywoman showon 26 May 2020 and 2 June 2020.

Earlier, Monique was interviewed on BBC Radio 4's Loose Ends with Nikki Bedi and Arthur Smith.

Bernardine Evaristo recommended The Mermaid of Black Conch on the Richard & Judy book show on 7 May 2020. (Watch the video on Twitter)

In March, Monique wrote an article for The Guardian called '#Notmymermaid: the Disney row is ridiculous - who knows what mermaids look like?'.

Monique was interviewed by Advantages of Age and Cunning Folk.

When asked about mermaids by Advantages of Age, Monique says, "Mermaids are pan-global and pan iconic; they exist in every ocean and many rivers. Rivers are also often named after the feminine too, e.g. The Ganges, Mother Ganga. They are a pre-Christian water Goddess. Collectively, we have dreamt them up.  [...] Mermaid stories are everywhere. Often they are very sad stories, tales of women cursed and isolated, of women who are ‘bad’, temptresses, luring sailors to their deaths, e.g. Homer’s sirens in The Odyssey. Mermaids in the 21st century have been cutesified by Disney, but the original Hans Christian Anderson story of The Little Mermaid is very dark; she agrees to cut out her tongue and gives her beautiful voice to the sea witch. When she walks, it’s with searing pain. All this she agrees to so she can meet the prince again, who treat her like a pet. Because she cannot talk, she is a kind of mute over compromised innocent, in the real story. In the end, the prince marries someone else. Tragic."

Speaking of music in the Cunning Folk interview, Monique says, "Music is numinous. Music connects us to the divine aspect of ourselves. Music brings goosebumps, an involuntary reaction to the divine. Humans have been drumming and making music since we lived in caves and were hunter gatherers living in small tribes. The mermaid and the fisherman connect in this way, of course they would, a preverbal, heart connection, a spiritual connection. Most mermaids are known for their ‘sweet voice’. Aycayia hasn’t heard music for millenia, and she is irresistibly drawn to it."

Monique also appeared at BookBound 2020 with Nikesh Shukla on Monday 27 April 2020. The event was hosted by Tessa McWatt. 

Monique appeared at the Huddersfield Literature Festival in March 2020.

Share this article