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Natasha Bowen On Her Epic Debut 'Skin Of The Sea' & Mermaid Mythology Across The Diaspora

The sea holds infinite secrets, but its dark depths hold the truth of so much of our history as people of the African diaspora. The mysteries of the sea have become the stuff of myth and legend, and it is at this intersection of fable, fantasy and history that Natasha Bowen’s beautiful young adult novel Skin of the Sea resides. 

Published early in November, Bowen’s epic debut has quickly claimed its top ten place on no less than the New York Times Bestseller list. A British writer of Nigerian and Welsh descent, Bowen’s novel follows Simidele, one of seven Mami Wata – the water spirit venerated in much of African and indigenous American traditions – reimagined in Skin of the Sea as a cohort of mermaids tasked to collect the souls of those who die at sea off the coast of West Africa in the 1400s.