'O felt her presence behind him like a fire at his back.'
Arriving at his fourth school in six years, diplomat's son Osei Kokote knows he needs an ally if he is to survive his first day - so he's lucky to hit it off with Dee, the most popular girl in school. But one student can't stand to witness this budding relationship: Ian decides to destroy the friendship between the black boy and the golden girl. By the end of the day, the school and its key players - teachers and pupils alike - will never be the same again.
The tragedy of Othello is transposed to a 1970s' suburban Washington schoolyard, where kids fall in and out of love with each other before lunchtime, and practise a casual racism picked up from their parents and teachers. Watching over the shoulders of four 11-year-olds - Osei, Dee, Ian and his reluctant girlfriend Mimi - Tracy Chevalier's powerful drama of friends torn apart by jealousy, bullying and betrayal will leave you reeling.
Tracy Chevalier is best known for her historical novels, including the international bestseller Girl with a Pearl Earring and, most recently, At the Edge of the Orchard. She is also editor of Reader, I Married Him: Stories Inspired by Jane Eyre. She lives with her family in London. Tracy was born in Washington, D.C. and went to an elementary school with a majority of black students. This experience led her to choose to rewrite Othello. 'Othello is about what it means to be the outsider, and that feeling can start at an early age. We have all at one time or another stood on the edge of a playground, with the bullies circling, wondering if we are going to be accepted.'