The big publishing story this week is about a Palestinian-American author who has sold her debut novel to Harper for a sizeable fee. Etaf Rum’s The Place an Arrow Shoots From sounds great: publisher Erin Wicks calls it “the story of three generations of Palestinian-American women living in Brooklyn as they struggle to reconcile their individual desires with the demands of their Arab-Muslim culture”. Their identities come under threat as they are faced with violence in their community – essentially the same place in which Rum herself grew up. Publication is a while away – we will probably have to wait until next year.
• Follow Etaf Rum’s gorgeousInstagram account @booksandbeans, which focuses on books and coffee
Even with the globe-trotting promise of its name, the International Dylan Thomas Prize might sound rather parochial, given it celebrates the memory of the Swansea-born writer. In fact, it is the largest literary award in the world for younger writers, and the longlist this year features diverse work. Anuk Arudpragasam’s Sri Lanka-set civil-war romance, The Story of a Brief Marriage, would be our pick, although we also loved Yaa Gyasi’s slave-trade epic Homegoing, and Hannah Kohler’s The Outside Lands, which is set in 1960s California and Vietnam. The shortlist will be announced late next month and the prize awarded in May.
• Check out the full longlist at www.swansea.ac.uk/dylan-thomas-prize
It’s taken some time, but an impressive graphic novel called The Attack, set in Israel and Palestine, is gaining traction, culminating in a glowing review in the New York Times this week. It first appeared in 2005 as a well-received and translated French novel titled L’Attentat by Yasmina Khadra, who will appear at Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in Dubai next month. The graphic interpretation, from Loic Dauvillier and Glen Chapron, followed in French, in 2012. But it took until last year for an English translation, by Ivanka Hahnenberger, to arrive. Described as a “poignant tragedy that mixes the intimacy of grief and betrayal with the futility of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”, it features despair, hope and images galore.
For more details, visit fireflybooks.com