A Cupboard Full of Coats


A Cupboard Full of Coats - a couple of jackets.

'‘Hello, little man,’ I said and kissed his cheek.

‘Urgh.’ He wiped the kiss off. ‘I hate lipstick.’

I laughed as if he were joking and kissed him again. ‘You’ll love it when you’re older.’

‘When I’m older,’ he asked, ‘will you be dead?’

Though there was nothing in his tone but interest, the question floored me completely. Stunned, I opened my mouth to reply, but could think of nothing to say.

‘The mum of one of the kids in Ben’s class is dead,’ Red said, his tone neutral. ‘Ever since he found out, he’s been obsessed.’

‘Will you?’ Ben pressed.

‘Mummy will die when she’s old,’ his father answered, and I had to bite my tongue, because I knew better than anyone that death did not pre-book appointments decades in advance. Its approach was random, based on whimsy, often violent. I came from a line of women who bore a single child and were dead before its eighteenth birthday. ‘You’ve got nothing to worry about,’ Red said.'

Yvvette Edwards’ debut novel, A Cupboard Full of Coats, tells the story of a young woman, Jinx, whose mother was murdered fourteen years before the novel begins. She is visited by Lemon, a family friend she has not seen since that time, and over the course of a single weekend, they explore what really happened and who was truly to blame. A Cupboard Full of Coats was published in 2011 by Oneworld Publications in the UK, and by Amistad, Harper Collins in 2012 in the US.


"A novel that pulses with rhythm, texture, language, and a story that keeps you locked to its pages. Brutally honest, expertly woven, and utterly mesmerizing. I loved this book."

Naseem Rakha, author, The Crying Tree

'...a fierce book, painfully honest and beautifully written.’

Jill Murphy, The Book Bag

'Beyond the luminous prose and fully dimensional characters, Edwards deftly explores difficult issues of race, beauty, gender, objectification and how they coalesce to create the identity we present to the world as well as ourselves.'

Book Club Classics

'Rich in emotion but resolutely unsentimental, the story is unspooled with judgement and skill. Information is released at an almost ideal pace and secrets are withheld until the last possible moment. Edwards’s clear, colloquial prose is full of quietly impressive phrase-making… The performance is a wholly satisfying one and the novel’s valedictory suggestions of redemption feel earned, solid and real.'

Jonathan Barnes, Literary Review

‘…expert plotting, a flair for the dramatic and an ability to create characters both vividly idiosyncratic and classically archetypal.’

The Journal Sentinel

"An impressive debut, particularly notable for its pellucid prose."

Kirkus Reviews

"…lyrical and haunting."

Laura Eggertson, Toronto Star

‘…it is carefully structured and the human relationships brutally real.'

Katie Allen, We Love This Book

'….a mixture of seductiveness and heart-breaking tenderness'.

The Network Journal

Purchase A Cupboard Full of Coats online



  • Nominated for the 44th NAACP Image Awards 2013
  • Nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award 2013
  • Shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book Prize 2012
  • Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2011
  • Shortlisted for the Writers’ Guild Awards 2011
  • A Kirkus Best Book of the Year 2011
  • Shortlisted for the Waverton Good Read Award 2011
  • Nominated for the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award 2013