Barbadian George Lamming came to England in 1950 on the same ship as fellow aspiring novelist Samuel Selvon; legend has it that the two shared a typewriter during the crossing. In 1953 Lamming published his acclaimed first novel In the Castle of My Skin depicting the unravelling of the colonial order and its unintended consequences for the inhabitants of Carrington Village, Barbados in the 1930s and 40s. Its sequel The Emigrants (1954) traces the life of the same protagonist – based on Lamming himself – as he travels to England.

The dustjacket was designed by Guyanese artist and writer Denis Williams.