A week ago, Desma Johnson had only two things on her mind – in exactly eight days, she would be sixteen years old and to top it off she was in line for a top scholarship, bringing her one step closer to her dreams. Life was perfect and nothing would get in the way of her birthday plans. But it’s 1959 and the secret Progressive League has just announced a boycott of all cinemas in Bermuda in order to end racial segregation.
As anxieties around the boycott build Desma becomes increasingly aware of the racial tensions casting a dire shadow over the island. Neighbours she once thought were friendly and supportive show another side. So, Desma must learn that change is never easy, and even when others expect small things from black girls, she has the right to dream big.
In this startling debut, Florenz Webbe Maxwell takes a little-known fact about Caribbean history and weaves an engaging tale that speaks eloquently to the contemporary experience. Girlcott takes you beyond the image of Bermuda as a piece of paradise and charts a narrative of resistance, hope and the importance of fighting for change.
Girlcott won 2nd Prize in the 2016 Burt Award for Caribbean Literature.
Published: June 2017