Bitter Almonds, written by Lilas Taha, and published by Hamad Bin Khalifa University Press (HBKU Press) has been announced winner in the ‘Fiction: Multicultural’ category of the 2017 International Book Awards (IBA).
There were over 1,500 entries this year in the various categories of the award, which is in its eighth year. The IBA, sponsored by the American Book Fest, highlights a wide variety of outstanding literary fiction and non-fiction works that are the best in their categories.
“The trials of the Palestinian diaspora provided motivation for my story, Bitter Almonds. I wrote the novel hoping to touch readers’ hearts and convey a message of respect. With this international recognition, it gives me great pleasure to learn that I helped shine a needed light on the struggles of innocent refugees, and bring a measure of attention to the plight of Palestinians,” said author Taha.
“Lilas Taha is an extremely talented author, whose work we are proud to publish at HBKU Press,” said Rodolphe A Boughaba, acting executive director of HBKU Press.
“This book has successfully brought a contemporary crisis to the forefront of the literary world, in a way that humanises the refugee crisis and makes it tangible to anyone around the world. Taha’s gift in developing characters with compassion and very real emotions appeals to both young and adult readers.”
Set in Damascus, Syria, in the tumultuous decades of the 1960s and 1970s, Bitter Almonds follows the coming-of-age of two young refugees as they encounter political turmoil and personal sacrifice. A love story rooted in history and Palestinian culture, Bitter Almonds is inspired by the tremulous events in the Middle East and author Lilas Taha’s family history.
Born in Kuwait to Syrian and Palestinian parents, Taha had to leave the country when it was invaded by Iraq in 1990. Moving and compelling, Bitter Almonds explores displacement and exile, family duty and honour, and the universal feelings of love and loss.
Bitter Almonds is currently being translated into Arabic by HBKU Press.
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