Monique Roffey was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad and educated in the UK. She is the author of five books, four novels and a memoir. Three of her novels are set in Trinidad and the Caribbean region. The White Woman on the Green Bicycle (2009) was shortlisted for the Orange Prize in 2010 and the Encore Award in 2011. Archipelago (2012) won the OCM BOCAS award for Caribbean Literature in 2013 and was shortlisted for the Orion Award 2014. House of Ashes, published in 2014, is a novel drawn from historical events and tells the story of a gunman, a hostage and a child soldier caught up in a botched coup d'etat. It was shortlisted for the COSTA Fiction Award, 2015 and longlisted for the OCM BOCAS Award in 2015. Her memoir, With the Kisses of His Mouth traces a personal journey of mid-life sexual self-discovery and recovery from a love affair.
She divides her time between the East end of London, and Port of Spain, where she teaches creative writing.
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An Interview with Monique Roffey about The White Woman on the Green Bicycle
In an interview in The Guardian (London), you talked about your parents and their arrival in Trinidadincluding the fact that your mother brought her green bicycle. How much of George and Sabine is based upon them? Was your mother as notorious for her bicycle riding as Sabine?
Yes, everyone knew my mother because she rode around Port of Spain on her green bicycle in her shorts, looking very glamorous and yet very foreign too. For months after she first arrived, she would go to parties or meet people for the first time and they would say "Oh, you're the women on the green bicycle," so she was well-known for her bike.
My parents had a long and eventful marriage and were always a bit like movie stars to me, when they were young. Yes, to some extent George and Sabine are based on them, but in many ways not at all. My mother had no interest in Eric Williams, for example, or the PNM, and she never attended the University of Woodford Square; all of that has to do with my own interest in Trinidad's recent history.
What did your parents think about Eric Williams?
To my knowledge and memory, they did not have strong opinions about him.
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