Sequins for a Ragged Hem

Sequins for a Ragged Hem


A beautifully atmospheric memoir and travelogue from poet Amryl Johnson depicting her journey from the UK to Trinidad in the 1980s

'Memories demanded that I complete this book. If what I experienced was, in fact, a haunting, I believe I have now laid these ghosts to rest in a style which I hope will satisfy even the most determined ones.'

Amryl Johnson came to England from Trinidad when she was eleven. As an adult in 1983, ready for a homecoming, she embarks on a journey through the Caribbean searching for home, searching for herself.

Landing in Trinidad as carnival begins, she instantly surrenders to the collective, pulsating rhythm of the crowd, euphoric in her total freedom. This elation is shattered when she finds the house where she was born has been destroyed. She cannot escape - nor wants to - from the inheritance of colonialism.

Her bittersweet welcome sets the tone for her intoxicating exploration of these distinct islands. In evocative, lyrical prose Sequins for a Ragged Hem is an astonishingly unique memoir, interrogating the way our past and present selves live alongside one another.

Selected by Booker Prize-winning author Bernardine Evaristo, this series rediscovers and celebrates pioneering books from Black Britain and the diaspora, which remap the nation and reframe our history.


  • Sequins is a powerful and unusual book, in that it combines the familiar traveller's tales with an account of another kind of journey and process of discovery, as Johnson confronts the 'ghost who was haunting herself' in order that she might come to terms with her sense of a fragmented identity

About the author

Amryl Johnson

Amryl Johnson was a poet, author and performer born in Trinidad. She was brought up by her grandparents until the age of 11, when she moved to Britain to join her parents. She attended secondary school in London and went on to study British, African and Caribbean literature at the University of Kent. She taught at the University of Warwick. Johnson's work was included in several anthologies, including News for Babylon: The Chatto Book of Westindian-British Poetry, Let It Be Told: Essays by Black Women in Britain, Watchers & Seekers: Creative Writing by Black Women in Britain, The New British Poetry and Daughters of Africa.
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