An extraordinary book about the immigration experience gets its launch in Thanet this Saturday.

The book, Pilgrim State, published by Hodder, is written by Jackie Walker, who first moved to Broadstairs five years ago.

In 1960s Deptford seven-year-old Jackie got a crash course in racism.

“You smell wog,” said a little blonde girl she thought was going to be her friend. “Don’t you ever come near me.”

When it was first published in 2008 Guardian called the book: “a survival tale to warm the chilliest heart.”

It tells how Jackie’s family came to this country from Jamaica in the 1950s.

Jackie’s mother Dorothy had an abusive father and experienced recurring mental illness, poverty and racial discrimination.

But she set out to keep her family together – and, despite all the odds, she did.

Says Jackie: “People become immigrants to improve their lives. And while they do that, they improve the quality of all in our society.

“My book is a testament to that struggle, to the bonds that keep a family together and a tribute to all who are prepared to risk everything for the betterment of the people they love.

“It’s a story which raises issues extremely relevant to what’s happening in Thanet today.”

Jackie will be reading extracts and answering questions at the launch which is at 7pm on Saturday 27 June at the Red Hall, 11 Grosvenor Road, Broadstairs CT10 2BT.

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