Sugar in the Blood | Granta

  • Published: 06/06/2013
  • ISBN: 9781846270727
  • 129x20mm
  • 448 pages

Sugar in the Blood

Andrea Stuart

In the late 1630s, Andrea Stuart’s earliest known maternal ancestor set sail from England, lured by the promise of the New World, to settle in Barbados where he fell by chance into the lucrative life of a sugar plantation owner. With George Ashby’s first crop, the cane revolution was underway and would go on to transform the Caribbean into an archipelago of riches, establishing a thriving worldwide industry that bound together ambitious white entrepreneurs and enslaved black workers. As it grew, this sweet colonial trade fuelled the Enlightenment and financed the Industrial Revolution, but it also had more direct, less palatable consequences for the individuals caught up in it, consequences that still haunt the author’s past.

In this unique personal history, Andrea Stuart follows the thread of her own family’s involvement with sugar through successive generations, telling a story of insatiable greed and forbidden love, of abuse and liberation.

One hell of an evocative historical writer... a sparkling history of sugar and the slave trade. It fizzes with life and is meticulously researched.... an epic story well told

Viv Groskop, Telegraph

The transformation of ordinary Englishmen into the masters of sugar plantations where African slaves toiled has rarely been fleshed out with so much biographical detail, or indeed, told by a descendant as elegant as Stuart... Captivating

Valerie Grove, The Times

A diligently researched hybrid of family memoir and history... Sugar in the Blood provides testimony to the high human drama of Caribbean slave trafficking and the misery endured by millions in the pursuit of sweetness... Absorbing

Ian Thomson, Guardian

The Author

Andrea Stuart was born and raised in the Caribbean and US. She studied English at the University of East Anglia and French at the Sorbonne. Her first book, Showgirls (Jonathan Cape, 1996), a collective biography of showgirls from Colette, to Marlene Dietrich to Madonna, was adapted into a two-part documentary for the Discovery Channel in 1998 and has since inspired a theatrical show, a contemporary dance piece and a number of burlesque performances. Her second book, The Rose of Martinique: A Biography of Napoleon’s Josephine (Macmillan, 2003) was translated into several languages and won the Enid McLeod Literary Prize in 2004. She is writer in Residence at Kingston University and teaches at the Faber Academy.

More about the author →

Andrea Stuart on

Essays & Memoir | The Online Edition

Desire | State of Mind

Andrea Stuart

‘My burgeoning sense of my own attractiveness, so fragile and recently developed, withered in this less than fertile ground.’

Interviews | The Online Edition

Andrea Stuart In Conversation | Podcast

Andrea Stuart

Josie Mitchell talks to Andrea Stuart about her essay ‘Travels in Pornland’. They discuss the value of feminist porn, the importance of counter narratives and the challenges faced by feminist pornographers.

Essays & Memoir | The Online Edition

Travels in Pornland

Andrea Stuart

‘I can easily recall my first brush with porn’