Jacaranda Books have acquired the rights to publish the story of Alford Dalrymple Gardner — one of the few living passengers to have travelled on the Empire Windrush. The currently untitled work will be released next year, 75 years after the ship docked in Tilbury, Essex.
Gardner’s story will be a first-hand account of the sights and sounds from Tuesday 22 June 1948 — now officially known nationally as Windrush Day — and will explore a life that has spanned almost a century.
The opportunity of building a better life whilst rebuilding the “mother country” post-World War II was the impetus for many Caribbeans to come to England. Though given citizenship and promised a warm welcome, many found that they were often subjected to racism and often ostracised from wider society.
Alford's story traverses both the uplifting highs and intolerant lows that West Indian migrants of his generation encountered upon travelling to Britain to forge out a life. From joining the British military during World War II to being forcibly deported back to Jamaica once it was won — only to come back to the UK when the government decided it needed him again — Alford witnessed milestone events of the 20th century that shaped the country he still lives in today.
Gardner’s book shows an ongoing commitment from Jacaranda to ensure that the stories of the Windrush generation are told, with books like War to Windrush by Stephen Bourne and Circle of Five by Harris Joshua et al among its back catalogue. The memoir will receive a 360 publicity and marketing campaign, with planned partnerships to mark the anniversary.
Of the book Editorial Assistant Noemi Vallone said: “It’s a moving story of a man who decided to fight for freedom and peace for a country that wanted him only in its time of need. Alford’s story is filled with major events of the 20th century — from World War II to the start of the Windrush era. We are so proud to publish his memoir and we know the readers won’t be able to stop themselves from falling for his story either.”
Chief Operating Officer, Jazzmine Breary said: "Alford Gardner's memoir represents the experience of a generation of Black Britons who have contributed immensely to this country. It is an incredible privilege to have a first-hand account of the historically momentous voyage on the Empire Windrush as we approach the 75th anniversary, and we at Jacaranda are honoured to present Alford's memoir to the world."
The rights including world language rights were acquired directly from the author by Jacaranda Founder, Valerie Brandes.