Extract: Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

Teeming with energy, humour and heart, a love song to black Britain told by twelve very different people.

 

Chapter One

Amma

 

“Amma

is walking along the promenade of the waterway that bisects her city, a few early morning barges cruise slowly by

to her left is the nautical- themed footbridge with its deck- like walkway and sailing mast pylons

to her right is the bend in the river as it heads east past Waterloo Bridge towards the dome of St Paul’s

she feels the sun begin to rise, the air still breezy before the city clogs up with heat and fumes

a violinist plays something suitably uplifting further along the promenade

Amma’s play, The Last Amazon of Dahomey, opens at the National tonight

 

*

 

she thinks back to when she started out in theatre

when she and her running mate, Dominique, developed a reputation for heckling shows that offended their political sensibilities

their powerfully trained actors’ voices projected from the back of the stalls before they made a quick getaway

they believed in protest that was public, disruptive and downright annoying to those at the other end of it

she remembers pouring a pint of beer over the head of a director whose play featured semi-naked black women running around on stage behaving like idiots

before doing a runner into the backstreets of Hammersmith

howling

 

Amma then spent decades on the fringe, a renegade lobbing hand grenades at the establishment that excluded her...