Isabella Hammad

Isabella Hammad
The Parisian

First Book Award: Nominee

The Parisian by Isabella Hammad was nominated for the 2019 First Book Award.

What's the First Book Award? What's this?

The praise Isabella Hammad has received for her book The Parisian would be welcomed by an author at any stage of their career – let alone a 27-year-old debut novelist. Zadie Smith, for example, has described The Parisian as “a sublime reading experience: delicate, restrained, surpassingly intelligent, uncommonly poised and truly beautiful.”

Hammad's The Parisian tells the story of Midhat Kamal, a young Palestinian dreamer who sets out to find himself in the aftermath of the First World War. Picking his way across a fractured world – from the shifting politics of the Middle East to the dinner tables of Montpellier and a newly tumultuous Paris – Midhat discovers that everything is fragile: love turns to loss, friends become enemies and everyone is looking for a place to belong.

Watch Hammad discuss The Parisian in this video courtesy of Penguin Books - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNYCIq9ihK0

The release of The Parisian marks an outstanding 12 months for the London-born writer, having won the 2018 Plimpton Prize for Fiction for her story Mr. Can’aan. Her other notable achievements include being awarded a Kennedy Scholarship to Harvard GSAS in 2012; receiving the Harper Wood Creative Writing Studentship from Cambridge University in 2013; graduating with an MFA in Fiction at New York University, where she was also a Stein Fellow; and winning the 2016-2017 Axinn Foundation NYU Writer-in-Residence.

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