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March 2019 Non-Fiction Releases

Fisherman's Blues
A West African Community at Sea
By (author): Anna Badkhen
9781594634871 Paperback, Trade English General Trade SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / Cultural & Social Mar 12, 2019
$22.00 CAD
Active 5.45 x 8.22 x 0.76 in 304 pages BLACK-AND-WHITE ILLUSTRATIONS THROUGHOUT Riverhead Riverhead Books
An intimate account of life in a West African fishing village, tugged by currents ancient and modern, and dependent on an ocean that is being radically transformed.

The sea is broken, fishermen say. The sea is empty. The genii have taken the fish elsewhere.

For centuries, fishermen have launched their pirogues from the Senegalese port of Joal, where the fish used to be so plentiful a man could dip his hand into the grey-green ocean and pull one out as big as his thigh. But in an Atlantic decimated by overfishing and climate change, the fish are harder and harder to find.

Here, Badkhen discovers, all boundaries are permeable—between land and sea, between myth and truth, even between storyteller and story. Fisherman’s Blues immerses us in a community navigating a time of unprecedented environmental, economic, and cultural upheaval with resilience, ingenuity, and wonder.

Story Locale: Senegal

VIVID REPORTING: Badkhen is a rare journalist doing this kind of fully immersive work, embedding herself in communities to illuminate people and places obscured by modern, urban life. Badkhen illuminates their ways of life, and the linkage to ours, approaching her subjects with empathy, honesty, and perspective.

RAVES FOR THE HARDCOVER: Critics have hailed Fisherman’s Blues as “remarkable” (Minneapolis Star-Tribune), and proclaimed “Anna Badkhen will transform you” (Paste)

TIMELY: The fishermen Badkhen embedded herself with are contending with an ecosystem drastically altered by both climate change and exploitation of resources. Badkhen shows how our actions affect them - and what we can learn from them about adapting.

TIMELESS: This is a classic account of a people and a place and forces of change.

PLENTY TO DISCUSS: This is the kind of nonfiction - multicultural, narrative, personal, anchored in characters with whom a range of readers can identify - that’s perfect for discussion in classrooms and book groups alike.

Anna Badkhen has spent much of her life in the Global South. Her immersive investigations of the world’s iniquities have yielded six books of nonfiction, most recently The World Is a Carpet: Four Seasons in an Afghan Village and Walking with Abel: Journeys with the Nomads of the African Savannah. Badkhen contributes to The New York Times, Granta, The New Republic, and Foreign Policy.

Author Residence: Tulsa, OK

Marketing: Social media and online promotion

Academic marketing / Facebook

Publicity: National print and online reviews and features

Author Website:

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Praise for Fisherman’s Blues:

“No polemical treatise, Badkhen’s Fisherman’s Blues offers a critical take through subtle and beautiful methods of storytelling. It creates a remarkable snapshot of lives we’d otherwise never know.” -Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“In elegiac vignettes, Badkhen portrays the trick and snare of a heroic and punishing profession…Fisherman’s Blues is Badkhen’s ode to a community’s fraught ties to geography, and a gentle lament for an existence eroding at the shoreline.” -Dallas Morning News

“In the span of 300 pages, Anna Badkhen will transform you from knowing nothing about this Senegalese community to being completely transfixed by their stories.” -Paste Magazine

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