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A poster for Monique Lofei in London and her novel “The Mermaid of Black Conch”. Published in paperback this month by Vintage © Monique Roffey.

In April 2020, when the coronavirus spread around the world, Monnie Crofei published a seventh book.

She published with Peepal Tree Press, a UK-based small independent company focused on the Caribbean. Black Conch Mermaid After Major rejects her fantastic story of a mermaid from another era.

“Indie exposed me with a stormy eye,” says Lophie. “I did everything I could to make it noticeable.”

The Trinidad-born writer crowdfunded her novel spokeswoman for £ 4,500, but was worried that the mermaid story would be overlooked as the medical crisis settled.

She had a hard time paying rent while the Covid-19 crisis canceled book tours and festivals.

“Covid could have been disastrous for my book,” she says. “It was in danger of falling into a Covid crevice.”

But then, loneliness, love, and the lyrical story of others caught the attention of the literary world, which the judge praised. In January, the novel won the prestigious £ 30,000 Costa Award, which judges described as “extraordinary,” “fascinating,” “full of mythical energy and unforgettable characters.” Did.

And Bingo, suddenly everyone wanted to read about the mermaid Aikaia, says Lophie. Rophie attended the same school (in full disclosure) on the outskirts of Port of Spain like I did.

The story sold about 60,000 copies online in print, and this month it will be published in paperback format by Vintage. For the second straight week of the year, the novel has surpassed the Times bestseller list. Next may be the rights to make a movie.

“Contrary to all possibilities, I’m doing well during Covid,” says Rophie from her home in London. “I’ve had a lot of ups and downs in my 20 years of writing, but I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Her fantasy and folklore novels took advantage of the desire for reading and imagination during the dark days of the blockade caused by the coronavirus. Roffey has joined many writers who pivot online at book releases and literary festivals. This means she has gained readers around the world.

“In 2020, the country turned to books for comfort, escapism, and relaxation,” said the Association of Publishers, a British trade association that serves book and magazine publishers. I will. “Reading was a win, and adults and children alike read more during the blockade than before.”

Fiction revenues increased 16% to £ 688m last year, while UK consumer publications totaled £ 2.1bn, up 7%, according to the UK trade association.

“Basically, a book that was completely ignored, rejected, published on the first Covid Wave, and unregistered by anyone was re-released,” says Roffey.

She added that the cover sign suddenly appeared all over the town because no one wanted the book.

This is the sixth article in a series of blogs exploring the impact of pandemics on people and businesses around the world.

Latest Coronavirus: EU Encourages US Tourists to Relax Travel Restrictions

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