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Year of Plagues. A Memoir of 2020

By Fred D'Aguiar

Professor and award-winning poet Fred D’Aguiar’s new memoir, Year of Plagues: A Memoir of 2020, is available from HarperCollins. In the memoir, he reflects on a year of turbulence, fear, and hope. For acclaimed British-Guyanese writer Fred D’Aguiar, 2020 was a year of personal and global crisis. The world around him was shattered by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, Black Lives Matter protests erupted across the United States, California burned, and D’Aguiar was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.

Year of Plagues is an intimate, multifaceted exploration of these seismic events. Combining personal reminiscence and philosophy, D’Aguiar confronts profound questions about the purpose of pursuing a life of writing and teaching in the face of overwhelming upheavals; the imaginative and artistic strategies a writer can bring to bear as his sense of self and community are severely tested; and the quest for strength and solace necessary to help forge a better future. Drawn from two cultural perspectives—his Caribbean upbringing and his American lifestyle—D’Aguiar’s beautiful and challenging memoir is a paean of resistance to despotic authority and life-threatening disease.

Year of Plagues was named Book of the Year in 2021 by the New Statesman and The Times Literary Supplement (TLS).