The Caribbean historical fiction novel, Girlcott, is becoming a force to reckon with. The award-winning novel by Caribbean author Florenz Webb Maxwell continues to break new ground years after its release. Its latest achievement? Girlcott is the inaugural book for the Berkeley Institute’s “One Island, One Book” initiative.

Bermuda’s Berkeley Institute wants Girlcott’s historical significance and social awareness to be felt island-wide. With a dream as beautiful as Bermuda’s pink sand beaches, the project aims to extend the joy of reading to everyone on the island.

A Historical Fiction Making History!

Girlcott is set against the backdrop of Bermuda’s 1959 watershed end to racial segregation. It’s a story of resistance, choices, and the importance of fighting for change. The novel centres around 15-year-old Desma Johnson, a smart and level-headed girl. It positions her between a perfectly concocted world fuelled by her aspirations and the reality of the imperfect system contaminated by racism that threatens to stifle her dreams.

A week before Desma’s sixteenth birthday, the anonymous Progressive Group announces a boycott of the local cinema. The resulting racial tensions disrupt Desma’s birthday plans. Worse yet, they threaten her chances of winning the Empire Scholarship and becoming an actuary.

In this Caribbean fiction of political consciousness and personal maturity, Desma learns that there are far more important things than trips to the cinema. She discovers that as the claws of racism have raked across her family history, and segregation policies have scarred her entire society. So, she has a degree of responsibility to do her part and stand up to it. Even if it means defying expectations.

A Celebration of Girlpower!

Girlcott is a celebration of girl power and youth involvement. This engaging Caribbean novel teaches that the call to action is not reserved for older men. We all share responsibility for creating change.

Girlcott brilliantly uncovers a previously untold story about the black experience. The historical fiction is a shining example that change can happen even through non-violent protest. As Desma beautifully illustrates in her equation – change (Girlcott) = X (knowledge) + Y (integrity) + Z (action).


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Achievements …

  • 2021 – Made Yahoo Sports list of 10 Must Read Caribbean Books
  • 2020 – Featured in Oprah Magazine’s 16 Books by Caribbean Authors to Read in 2020
  • 2018 – Listed by the School’s Library Journal as 20 Books to Celebrate Caribbean Heritage Month
  • 2018 – Longlisted for International Dublin Literary Awards
  • 2017 – Bookmart at Brown & Co’s Book of Choice
  • 2016 – 2nd Place in the Burt Award for Young Adult Literature


… And Praise

“Bermuda might bring to mind shorts and pink stucco cottages, but here (Girlcott) is a deeper look at the Caribbean Island.”


“ [W]eaves and engaging tale that speaks eloquently to the contemporary experience.”

Dublin City Libraries

“[A]n incredible story that should be read and distributed widely, and a valued addition to any library collection.”

School’s Library Journal


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Head over to the Berkley Institute’s Facebook page to see the inspiring pics of Bermudans reading the book across the island!

One Island One Book – FB Page