Rude Girl

Translated by Priscilla Layne
Rude Girl book cover

‘Not just for fans of graphic novels, but for anyone who has ever felt different.’ Priscilla Layne.

Published 29 April 2024.

The white German graphic novelist Birgit Weyhe teaches at a US college through an academic exchange programme. At a conference of American Germanists in the Midwest, she is accused of cultural expropriation. Is she exploiting her privileges as a white writer when she tells stories about Black people?

She meets Priscilla Layne, an African American professor of German studies with Caribbean roots. Growing up, Priscilla is labelled an ‘Oreo’: too white for her Black classmates, and too Black for the white kids. Rebelling against everything and everyone all at once, she joins the skinhead movement and becomes a rude girl, discovering a community where she feels valued. Music, clothes, hair, food, class, race, gender, education – her life and identity are a complex composite.

But how should Birgit Weyhe tell a life story like Priscilla’s? What mistakes does she need to avoid? The act of storytelling itself becomes its own narrative layer in this unique graphic biography.

‘Birgit Weyhe develops a rhythm of empathy in her comic. She tells the story of Crystal and her immigrant family like a rap. Six pictures per page, that’s the beat.’ Die Zeit

Rude Girl is a compelling skinhead biography. Put some Upsetters on the decks and get reading. It’s a live injection.’ Tim Wells, author of Moonstomp and Shine on Me.

‘How can a story be both individual and collective at the same time? Somehow, the story of Priscilla Layne’s belonging and identity, in dialogue with graphic novel illustrator Birgit Weyhe, is one that we can all both empathize and sympathize with. We have either felt the same range of emotions as Layne, or we can feel for her. And it is because Layne’s story is told through Weyhe’s art and vision that it connects with us so deeply. Rude Girl is the complex intersection of culture, time, place, family, friendship, race, class, feminism, music, and more, but it is at its heart, the story of the human experience. And it’s beautiful.’ Heather Augustyn, author of Rude Girls: Women in 2 Tone and One Step Beyond

‘This book is super – you open it up and it’s like a film! I relate so much to Crystal being Mixed heritage and having a LONG journey of identity and finding out about oneself. Truly beautiful and relatable!’ Clara Byrne, Dakka Skanks

‘Rude Girl is the most mind-blowing graphic novel I have ever read! It’s witty, touching and funny and it raises questions on race, agency and authorship in a complex yet captivating way that you’ll hardly find in a written text.’ Maryam Aras, literary critic

  • Rude Girl
    Book 20.00 GBP
    29 April 2024

The book’s expressionistic style is perfectly suited to the two women’s grand experiment in mutuality; the English version takes this collaboration to the next level – it was translated by Priscilla Layne herself.

The Berliner

Rude Girl is an enlightening book with many surprises, including Weyhe’s admission that that there are some things she would narrate and draw differently today. On a personal level I, a white working-class Lancastrian, two decades older than Layne, was surprised and delighted to find a mirrored experience. Given that I was also never a skin-head or a punk, whatever could it be? Something to do with the initial spark to learning German. Amazing!

Lizzy's Literary Life

This is a story within a story. Or one story and then another story about telling the first story. Whichever way you look at it, both layers are equally important. It’s also quite fascinating how Birgit Weyhe brings them together, clashes them, uses one to counterpoint the other.

European Literature Network
Birgit Weyhe

‘This book is a great document and a monument to the injustice that befell me and other contract workers in East Germany.’ Emiliano Chaimite Madgermanes is what the Mozambican workers once contracted out to East Germany are called today. At the end of the 1970s, some 20,000 of them were sent from the People’s Republic

  • Madgermanes
    Book 15.99 GBP
    Graphic novel
    B-format paperback
    1 October 2021