Author(s): Tracy Chevalier
She noticed him before anyone else...Arriving at his fourth school in six years, diplomat's son Osei Kokote knows he needs an ally if he is to survive his first day - so he's lucky to hit it off with Dee, the most popular girl in school. But one student can't stand to witness this budding relationship: Ian decides to destroy the friendship between the black boy and the golden girl. By the end of the day, the school and its key players - teachers and pupils alike - will never be the same again. The tragedy of Othello is transposed to a 1970s suburban Washington schoolyard, where kids fall in and out of love with each other before lunchtime, and practise a casual racism picked up from their parents and teachers. Watching over the shoulders of four 11-year-olds - Osei, Dee, Ian, and his reluctant 'girlfriend' Mimi - Tracy Chevalier's powerful drama of friends torn apart by jealousy, bullying and betrayal will leave you reeling.
"Chevalier's modern interpretation of Othello deftly explores race relations in the schoolyard in 1970s suburban Washington, and captures how it feels to be an outside." -- Anita Sethi i, 2017 Books of the Year
Tracy Chevalier is best known for her historical novels, including the international bestseller Girl with a Pearl Earring and, most recently, At the Edge of the Orchard. She is also editor of Reader I Married Him: Stories Inspired by Jane Eyre. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and has honorary doctorates from her alma maters Oberlin College and the University of East Anglia. She lives with her family in London. Tracy was born in Washington, D.C., where she grew up in an integrated neighbourhood and went to an elementary school with a majority of black students. This experience of being a minority is what made her choose to rewrite Othello. 'Othello is about what it means to be the outsider, and that feeling can start at an early age. We have all at one time or another stood on the edge of a playground, with the bullies circling, wondering if we are going to be accepted.'