Author(s): Catherine E. McKinley
Indigo is the rich, electrifying history of a precious dye: its relationship to the trans-Atlantic slave trade, its profound influence on fashion, and its spiritual significance - all very much alive today. But it is also the story of a personal quest: Catherine McKinley's ancestors include a clan of Scots who wore indigo tartan, several generations of Jewish 'rag traders' and Massachusetts textile factory owners, and African slaves who were traded along the same Saharan routes as indigo. Her journey takes her to nine West African countries and is resplendent with powerful lessons of heritage and history which shape the way she understands her world at home.
A richly-told, personal quest across the ancient trade routes of West Africa, and the unforgettable story of a rare, luminuous colour
'Indigo is a journey in every sense of the word, and one undertaken with an engaging passion. It is also, in the words of Miles Davis, Kind of Blue' Mark Kurlansky An eye-opening account of the controversial role this gorgeous, coveted pigment has played through the millennia Elle [Indigo] finds its significance not simply in indigo as a metaphor but in the real experience of African women whose hard labour is inseparable from the traditional rituals, magic rites, songs, laughter and landscapes which give the true richness to the fabrics coloured by indigo The Times [McKinley's] discoveries resonate, and her unique experiences provide a vivid snapshot of the cultures she encountered in Africa Washington Post
Catherine McKinley is the author of The Book of Sarahs. She is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, where she has taught Creative Nonfiction, and a former Fulbright Scholar in Ghana, West Africa, where she began her research on indigo. She lives in New York City.