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Nadifa Mohamed was born in Hargeisa in 1981 while Somalia was falling deeper into dictatorship. In 1986 she moved to London with her family in what she thought was a temporary move but a couple of years later it became permanent as war broke out in Somalia. She was educated in London and went to Oxford to study History and Politics and she finally returned to Hargeisa, now in the new Republic of Somaliland, in 2008. She lives in London and is currently working on her second novel.
It is 1988 and Hargeisa waits. Whispers of revolution travel on the dry winds but still the dictatorship remains secure. Soon, and through the eyes of three women, we will see Somalia fall. Nine-year-old Deqo has left the vast refugee camp she was born in, lured to the city by the promise of her first pair of shoes. Kawsar, a solitary widow, is trapped in her little house with its garden clawed from the desert, confined to her bed after a savage beating in the local police station. Filsan, a young female soldier, has moved from Mogadishu to suppress the rebellion growing in the north. And as the country is unravelled by a civil war that will shock the world, the fates of the three women are twisted irrevocably together. Intimate, frank, brimming with beauty and fierce love, The Orchard of Lost Souls is an unforgettable account of ordinary lives lived in extraordinary times.
August 2010 Debut of the Month. Shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize 2010. Shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award 2010. A compelling story about a young boy, Jama, growing up in Somalia and searching for his father who has left to try and find work in the Sudan. The book gives great insight in to the culture, class system and religion and spares no punches in the harsh reality that is Jama's life. Fascinating, gripping and ultimately uplifting this is a book that deserves the comparisons to Half of a Yellow Sun and The Kite Runner. Head to our 'Black Lit Matters' list to find more must-read novels by black writers.
A short story by Nadifa Mohamed from the collection Reader, I Married Him: Stories inspired by Jane Eyre.In 'Party Girl', ahead of settling down, a woman looks back on her rebellious youth.Edited by Tracy Chevalier, the full collection, Reader I Married Him, brings together some of the finest and most creative voices in fiction today, to celebrate and salute the strength and lasting relevance of Charlotte Bronte's game-changing novel and its beloved narrator.
Yemen, 1935. Jama is a half-feral child scavenging with his friends in the dusty streets of a great seaport. For Jama, life is a carnival, at least when he can fill his belly. When his mother dies young, she leaves him only an amulet stuffed with one hundred rupees. Jama decides to spend her life's meager savings to search for his missing father, rumored to be a driver for the British in the north. So begins Jama's extraordinary journey of more than a thousand miles to Egypt. He slings himself from one perilous city to another, fiercely enjoying life on the road and relying on his vast clan network to shelter him and point the way to his father, who always seems just out of reach. In his travels, Jama will witness scenes of great humanity and brutality; he will be caught up in the indifferent, grinding machine of war; he will crisscross the Red Sea in search of working papers and a ship.