Book discussion: The Mermaid of Black Conch, featuring Prof. Eric Washington (video)

Eric Michael Washington

Caribbean Book Club presents Page Turners – The Mermaid of Black Conch (livestream recorded November 7, 2021 for IKTV 112)

Calvin historian and director of the African and African Diaspora Studies program Professor Eric Washington appeared as part of a book discussion on Caribbean tv this week. Tune in to hear more about The Mermaid of Black Conch.

About the book:

The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffrey

The cover of the book "The Mermaid of Black Conch" featuring a mermaid set against a sunset.

Near the island of Black Conch, a fisherman sings to himself while waiting for a catch. But David attracts a sea-dweller that he never expected – Aycayia, an innocent young woman cursed by jealous wives to live as a mermaid. When American tourists capture Aycayia, David rescues her and vows to win her trust. Slowly, painfully, she transforms into a woman again. Yet as their love grows, they discover that the world around them is changing – and they cannot escape the curse for ever… 

Monique Roffey is an award winning writer. Her most recent novel, The Mermaid of Black Conch (Peepal Tree Press) won the Costa Book of the Year Award, 2020 and was shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize, 2020, the Rathbones/Folio Award 2021, and the Republic of Consciousness Award. It was also long listed for the OCM Bocas Award for Fiction and the Orwell Prize for Political fiction, 2021.


Eric Michael Washington is assistant professor of history and director of African and African Diaspora Studies at Calvin College. He is primarily interested in studying the African American church from its development in the late 18th century through the 19th century, and individual Christians, primarily Calvinists. He also has a growing academic interest in the growing “Black and Reformed” movement in North America.

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