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Conversations on Empire:

Ira Mathur in Discussion with Amanda Smyth & Judy Raymond

Wednesday 13th July 2022

19:30 - 20:30 at Waterstones, London - Victoria

Join us to celebrate the launch of a Peepal Press debut, Love the Dark Days by Ira Mathur. On the evening, we present Conversations on Empire, with Ira Mathur, Amanda Smyth and Judy Raymond, hosted by Peepal Press Publisher, Jeremy Poynting.

Tickets are available from Waterstones at £6 General Admission / £16 Book and Ticket

Love the Dark Days is Ira's silk-swathed memoir. In post-colonial Trinidad, the chains are off three generations of daughters and mothers in their New World exile. Profoundly raw, unflinching, layered, but not without threads of humour and perceived absurdity, Love the Dark Days reassembles the story of a disintegrating empire.

Ira Mathur is an Indian-born Trinidadian award-winning multimedia journalist at and the Trinidad Guardian's longest-running columnist. In 2021 Mathur was longlisted for the Bath Novel Award for her unpublished novel Touching Dr Simone.

Amanda Smyth is Irish Trinidadian and author of three novels. Her third novel, Fortune, published by Peepal Tree Press, is shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize 2022.

Judy Raymond read Literae Humaniores at Hertford College, Oxford and holds a masters in Afro-Caribbean Studies from SOAS, London University. She is a journalist, parliamentary columnist & Editor-in-Chief of Newsday Trinidad. She is the author of four nonfiction books, including The Colour of Shadows: Images of Caribbean Slavery.

Jeremy Poynting is Peepal Tree's founder & managing editor. He holds a PhD from the University of Leeds and an honorary DLitt from the University of the West Indies (Mona). In 2018 he was elected as an Honorary RSL Fellow by the Royal Society of Literature.

Book Now

Love the Dark Days

Set in India, England, Trinidad and St Lucia, Love the Dark Days follows the story of a girl, Poppet, born of mixed Hindu-Muslim parentage in post-independence India. When she lives with her grandmother, member of an elite Muslim family, whose history is one of having colluded with the brutality of the British rule in India, Poppet unconsciously imbibes her grandmother's prejudices of class and race.

As the darker child in her family, this makes her feel that she does not belong, leading to an over-anxiety to please the adults around her. That feeling of unbelonging is repeated when her family migrates to multicultural Trinidad, made up of people from many continents, where she encounters Indian people, several generations away from India, who have a very different sense of themselves, who appear critical of what they perceive as her airs and graces.

She begins writing about her experiences as a way of trying to make sense of them. In her darkest hour, she meets Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott, who encourages her, when she visits him in St Lucia over a weekend, to leave the past behind and reinvent herself. All this takes place in a society suffering a crisis of order -- an attempted coup by Muslim extremists and a rising crime rate with reported incidents of spectacular brutality.

Can she, through her writing, examine each broken shard of her shattered family relations and reassemble it into a new shape in a new world? Can she make sense of herself in relation both to her own family and the Trinidadian family she marries into, and grow enough to achieve the courage it takes simply to be human? Raw, unflinching, but not without threads of humour and perceived absurdity, Love the Dark Days is an intricate tapestry telling of the end of empire that has Poppet's story at its heart.

Buy your copy along with your ticket.

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