This month Ruqaya Izzidien’s The Watermelon Boys (Hoopoe, 2018) was shortlisted for the Betty Trask Prize and Awards. The book has been praised by reviewers and readers alike. The Historical Novel Society calls it an “extraordinary debut novel” that is “highly recommended.”
Read the full review here.
Set in the winter of 1915 in an Iraq engulfed by the First World War, The Watermelon Boys offers a powerful retelling of the history of British intervention in Iraq.
“First and foremost,” explained Izzidien in an interview, “it’s a story about a family trying to do the right thing, so I think it’s accessible to anyone. . . It deals with the British treatment and betrayal of Arabs, but through personal and—hopefully—nuanced fiction. So I would recommend this book to anyone who would like to know more about the influence of British colonial rule and suppression on today’s Arab political turmoil.”