J.A. Mensah is a writer of prose and theatre. Her plays have focused on human rights narratives and the testimonies of survivors. Her short stories appear in several collections. Castles from Cobwebs, her first novel, won the inaugural NorthBound Book Award.  

I’d always known that I was Brown. Black was different, though; it came announced. Black came with expectations, of rhythm and other things that might trip me up. Imani is a foundling. Rescued as a baby and raised by nuns on a remote Northumbrian island, she grows up with an ever-increasing feeling of displacement. Full of questions, Imani turns to her shadow, Amarie, and her friend, Harold. When Harold can’t find the answers, she puts it down to what the nuns call her “greater purpose”.  At nineteen, Imani answers a phone call that will change her life: she is being called to Accra after the sudden death of her biological mother. Past, present, faith and reality are spun together in this enthralling debut. Following her transition from innocence to understanding, Imani's experience illuminates the stories we all tell to make ourselves whole.  

Chaired by Barbara Henderson

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