"Pirating Slavery" (Chapter 1)
Updated: Oct 8
J. M. W. Turner's The Slave Ship (1840) was originally entitled Slavers Throwing Overboard the Dead and Dying -- Typhoon Coming On by the English landscape artist and abolitionist. It depicts in the right corner of the foreground, a single dark-skinned leg jutting out of the water with an iron chain locked around the ankle. A swarm of seagulls and fish circles the leg. On the left, there are smaller dark limbs surrounded by loose chains, alluding to the 132 Africans who were thrown off the ship, Zong, in 1781 in "mass murder masquerading as an insurance claim". Fish tails follow the frenzy.
Pirating Slavery, my novel about buccaneers liberating slave ships, will be published in 16 installments twice a week for four months. The first installments appear today:
Books, published as installments, make the story more manageable while heightening the experience of reading. The book becomes a companion and a commentary on your day-to-day life as you read it over the course of a few months.
Between chapters, readers have the time to share , talk and speculate about the book.
Book serials first appeared in 1836, when a French newspaper published Honore de Balzac. At the same time, in England, Charles Dickens published The Pickwick Papers and ignited a trend. Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin was published in 1851 in 40 installments. Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina was published in Russia from 1873 to 1877.