Sulaiman Addonia’s searing novel of immigration and the powerful bonds forged in the harsh crucible of refugee camp life has been acquired by The Indigo Press, a publishing arm of the MILD group. Publishing Director Ellah Wakatama Allfrey bought World English rights to Sulaiman’s captivating second book from Isobel Dixon.
Sulaiman’s first novel THE CONSEQUENCES OF LOVE was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and translated into more than 20 languages. SILENCE IS MY MOTHER TONGUE will be published on 4th October 2018.
Saba, the novel’s heroine, arrives in an East African refugee camp as a young girl. In this crowded and often hostile place, she has to carve out her new existence. As she struggles to maintain her sense of self, Saba remains fiercely protective of her mute brother Hagos – each sibling resisting the role gender and society assigns. SILENCE IS MY MOTHER TONGUE is an extraordinary portrait of a woman of courage and intelligence and a compelling story of exile, survival, and love. Sulaiman S.M.Y. Addonia questions what it means to be a man, to be a woman, to be an individual when circumstance has forced the loss of all that makes a home and the possibility of a future. This is a book about love in a time of conflict, incisively dissecting society’s ability to wage war on its own women and exploring the stories we must tell and absorb to survive, cementing Addonia as a gifted literary talent whose stories reach across enforced borders towards the universal conflicts of the human heart.
Speaking of the acquisition of Sulaiman’s SILENCE IS MY MOTHER TONGUE and WONDER VALLEY by Ivy Pochoda, Ellah Wakatama Allfrey said: “Although very different in approach and location, these two novels exemplify our ambitions for the fiction list at The Indigo Press. In each case the author is concerned with the possibilities of the novel and has moulded the form into a distinct work that interrogates universal themes. Pochoda explores California’s underclass – the different voices and locations (from the desert to the sea) exploring the inequalities of contemporary American society and the desire each of her characters has to change their lives – even if that means running away. Addonia’s concerns are no less urgent as he writes of challenges faced by his young heroine as she finds her life dramatically altered. This is writing that looks inward at a particular community with characters whose stories illuminate the world.”
Sulaiman S.M.Y. Addonia is a novelist who fled Eritrea as a refugee in childhood. He spent his early life in a refugee camp in Sudan following the Om Hajar massacre in 1976, and in his early teens he lived and studied in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He arrived in London as an underage unaccompanied refugee without a word of English and went on to earn an MA in Development Studies from SOAS and a BSc in Economics from UCL. THE CONSEQUENCES OF LOVE was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and was translated into more than 20 languages. Sulaiman S.M.Y.