The British actress will read an excerpt from the novel by author Trini
Lisa Allen-Agostini’s book The Bread the Devil Knead will get celebrity treatment at this year’s Women’s Prize Festival.
British actress Naomie Harris, known for her role in the James Bond films 28 Days Later and Moonlight, will perform a reading from the book, which has been shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction.
Harris’ father is from Trinidad and her mother is Jamaican.
Gillian Anderson (Sex Education, X-Files) and Harry Potter star Jason Isaacs are also set to perform readings as part of the prize’s annual three-day virtual festival from May 23-25.
The Bread the Devil Knead is Allen-Agostini’s latest book. She wrote The Chalice Project, the coming-of-age novel Home Home, published by Papillote Press, and won third place in the 2017 Burt Prize for Caribbean Literature for Young Adults, the second edition of Home Home, published by Delacorte Press, and a short collection of poetry, Swallowing the Sky. She also co-edited Trinidad Noir.
The bread that the devil kneads tells the story of Alethea Lopez, a nearly 40-year-old woman who runs a boutique in Port of Spain. Lopez is a victim of domestic violence and seeks solace in an affair with her boss. When she witnesses a woman murdered by a jealous lover, the reality of her own future comes a little too close to home.
Since its release almost a year ago by independent British publishing house A myriad of editions, the book garnered rave reviews.
Allen-Agostini describes it all as the work of God.
“The process of publishing the book is a process that speaks to God because I had given up writing. Within days, however, the manuscript of my book Home Home won a young adult literature award and Margaret Busby told me called personally to invite me to participate in New Daughters of Africa. She is the most important woman in Black British Publishing. Her anthology called Daughters of Africa came out in the 80s and it is the first collection of writers from the African diaspora, which included Toni Morrison and Alice Walker,” she recounted.
“New Daughters of Africa was published in 2019 and included me. Myriad Editions, a small feminist press in Brighton, published it and I was on their mailing list. In March 2020 they put out a call for entries and I was able to submit a complete manuscript and it was Bread the Devil Knead.
Myriad submitted the book for the writer’s award.
Allen-Agostini said that when she was told Harris would read her book, she was upset.
“When the Women’s Prize asked me to recommend actors to perform the excerpt, I suggested either Martina Laird, who was here a few years ago, or Indra Ove, Horace’s daughter, who are both great actresses and I felt they could do justice to the Trini accent. Through some mysterious process, those names keep getting misplaced. Eventually the Women’s Prize people called and said look, we have hired Naomie Harris. I was really overwhelmed,” she said.
The winner of the Women’s Prize will be announced on June 15.