Bisrat Negassi in her mothers dress

ICH BIN –Book Release May 9,2022

I Am is the story of the Hamburg designer Bisrat Negassi: born in the Eritrean capital of Asmara in the early 1970s, Bisrat was still a child when she experienced the brutal thirty-year war of independence against the Ethiopian military regime. Her family fled the country and after two years finally came to Germany. They had arrived – but Bisrat felt uprooted. She wondered: What does it mean to arrive? What does it mean to feel at home somewhere?

Instead of feeling like she belonged, Bisrat found herself confronted with something she'd never experienced before: racism. She was angry, but decided that rage was not the answer: instead, she transformed it into creative energy, and trusted in her own courage. She studied fashion, and eventually fulfilled her childhood dream of becoming a designer. After an apprenticeship with the designer Xuly Bet, she eventually set up her own fashion label Negassi in Paris.

I Am tells the inspirational story of her life, describing her long struggle, how she attained success despite countless obstacles, and how she ultimately discovered her full potential, power and creative energy.

“In this autobiography, which is worth reading, all the big themes of our time can be found: All the gloom: war. Escape. Racism. And all the light: resilience. Growth. Family, friendship, love. And again and again: creativity.”

– Melanie Raabe

“At once a timely and uncommonly tender meditation on war, migration, courage— and a modern-day guide to finding one’s path (and one’s joy) against all odds. An indispensable book.”

– Taiye Selasi

“Bisrat Negasi transforms her escape from terror into a journey toward freedom. Her story is a courageous account of making home wherever you must, using creativity, perseverance, and joy as your guides. A necessary read in this time of deep division and geopolitical strife.”

– Rebecca Walker

“This cinematic account, spanning an escape from war-torn Eritrea to the Paris debut of Negassi’s fashion line, shimmers with vivid details: burgundy silk fabric spotted in a Sudanese tailor’s shop at age six; fashion-school figures drawn with Black hairstyles, which an instructor marked with a red pen. Part coming-of-age, part geopolitical primer, the book is also a love letter to creative community.”

–Laura Regensdorf, Vanity Fair

"Bisrat Negassi tells of war and loss, farewell and arrival, of resistance and family security. A haunting narrator."

–Joy Denalane

Press contact:

Constanze Schwarz
Tel. 089-4136-3232
E. constanze.schwarz@penguinrandomhouse.de

Annika Grützner
Literaturtest | Alte Jakobstr. 87/88 | 10179 Berlin
Tel. 030-531 40 70-27
E. gruetzner@literaturtest.de

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