Porter Square Books is delighted to welcome Christina Cooke for the debut release of Broughtupsy! Margot Livesey will join Cooke in conversation. This event will take place on Thursday, March 14 at 7pm at Porter Square Books (25 White St. Cambridge, MA 02140).
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At once cinematic yet intimate, Broughtupsy is an enthralling debut novel about a young Jamaican woman grappling with grief as she discovers her family, her home, is always just out of reach
Tired of not having a place to land, twenty-year-old Akúa flies from Canada to her native Jamaica to reconnect with her estranged sister Tamika. Their younger brother Bryson has recently passed from sickle cell anemia—the same disease that took their mother ten years prior—and Akúa carries his remains in a small wooden box with the hope of reassembling her family.
Over the span of two fateful weeks, Akúa and Tamika visit significant places from their childhood, but time spent with her sister only clarifies how different they are, and how years of living abroad have distanced Akúa from her home culture. "Am I Jamaican?" she asks herself again and again. Beneath these haunting doubts lie anger and resentment at being abandoned by her own blood. "Why didn’t you stay with me?" she wants to ask Tamika.
Wandering through Kingston with her brother's ashes in tow, Akúa meets Jayda, a brash stripper who shows her a different side of the city. As the two grow closer, Akúa confronts the difficult reality of being gay in a deeply religious family, and what being a gay woman in Jamaica actually means.
By turns diasporic family saga, bildungsroman, and terse sexual awakening, Broughtupsy is a profoundly moving debut novel that asks: what do we truly owe our family, and what are we willing to do to savor the feeling of home?
Christina Cooke's writing has previously appeared in The Caribbean Writer, Prairie Schooner, PRISM international, Epiphany: A Literary Journal, and elsewhere. A MacDowell Fellow, Journey Prize winner, and Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner Award winner, she holds a Master of Arts degree from the University of New Brunswick and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Born in Jamaica, Christina is now a Canadian citizen who lives and writes in New York City.
Margot Livesey grew up on the edge of the Scottish Highlands and has taught in numerous writing programs including Emerson College, Boston University, Bowdoin College and the Warren Wilson low residency MFA program. She is the author of a collection of stories and nine novels, including Eva Moves the Furniture, The Flight of Gemma Hardy, and The Boy in the Field. The Hidden Machinery: Essays on Writing was published in 2017. She is a professor at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and goes back to Scotland whenever she can. Her new novel, The Road from Belhaven, will be published in February, 2024.
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