2024 Political Fiction Book prize finalist

Ocean Stirrings

Merle Collins

Published by: Peepal Tree Press

Collins fuses history and invention with utmost care and creativity in a book that imagines the thinking, reading, working, politically active lives of the women who came before Malcolm X. Capacious in scope, Ocean Stirrings spans two centuries, taking us from Grenada to Canada to the USA, considering African inheritance and the European power. Yet it’s also a work of stillness and close attention. It makes space for the story of a girl in a Grenadian classroom, reading Byron, reading Cowper, asking questions of the world, given courage by her teachers and her mother to make her own decisions. With a deep sense of purpose and not a hint of literary showiness, Collins brings together many voices, from eighteenth-century English letter-writers to Black rights orators, and she honours the rich Grenadian creole, now largely lost, with a new life here on the page.


Alexandra Harris, Chair of the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction panel 2024