Photo: Sylvain Durand
Nadifa (born 1981) is the writer of the renowned novels Black Mamba Boy (2009) and The Orchard of Lost Souls (2013). A regular contributor to The Guardian and the BBC, she is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and is a lecturer in creative writing at Royal Holloway, University of London. Nadifa is the recipient of the Somerset Maugham Award, and was named one of Granta's best young British novelists of 2013, and was a part of the 2014 Africa39 list of the most promising writers under the age of 40 from sub-Saharan Africa. Nadifa was a finalist for the 2021 Booker Prize for her latest novel The Fortune Men (2021). She recently won the Wales Fiction Book of the Year Award and won the Alhambra Award for Excellence in the Arts.
What you can't miss:
Mahmood Mattan is a fixture in Cardiff's Tiger Bay, 1952, which bustles with Somali and West Indian sailors, Maltese businessmen and Jewish families. He is a father, chancer, some-time petty thief. He is many things, in fact, but he is not a murderer. A sobering examination of prejudice, justice and the dispensability of truth, The Fortune Men tells the story of Mahmood, who finds himself wrongfully charged for murder in 1950s Cardiff.
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. 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.
Set in 1930s Somalia spanning a decade of war and upheaval, all seen through the eyes of a small boy alone in the world. Aden, Yemen, 1935; a city vibrant, alive, and full of hidden dangers. And home to Jama, a ten year-old boy. But then his mother dies unexpectedly and he finds himself alone in the world. Jama is forced home to his native Somalia, the land of his nomadic ancestors. War is on the horizon and the fascist Italian forces who control parts of East Africa are preparing for battle. This story of one boy's long walk to freedom is also the story of how the Second World War affected Africa and its people; a story of displacement and family.