Isabella Hammad

Award-winning Novelist
Palestine Book Award Winner
5 Under 35 Honoree

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  • An Evening with Isabella Hammad

Biography

“Hammad is a natural social novelist with an ear for lively dialogue as well as an ability to illuminate psychological interiority. She is a writer of startling talent.” —Observer

“Hammad uses the features of historical novels to cut through the familiar dichotomies of West and Near East, placing her protagonist in a rich web of families, political intrigues, and cultural exchanges, and subtly reconfiguring the literary tropes of ‘home’ and ‘abroad.’” ―New Yorker

“Isabella Hammad is an enormous talent and her book is a wonder.” ―Zadie Smith

Isabella Hammad is the author of the critically acclaimed novel The Parisian, which won the 2019 Palestine Book Award. The debut was also a Best Book of 2019 at Vogue and Amazon, one of LitHub’s Ultimate Best Books of 2019, and one of the Observer’s ‘hotly tipped’ debuts of 2019. Her story “Mr. Can’aan” won the 2019 O. Henry Prize and the 2018 Plimpton Prize for Fiction. She is also the author of the forthcoming novel Enter Ghost, a bold, evocative story that follows actress Sonia as she returns to Palestine and takes a role in a West Bank production of Hamlet. Of her much anticipated second book, Leila Aboulela says: “Outstanding. Next-level. Aesthetically, intellectually, emotionally and culturally satisfying. It is astonishing but true that Isabella Hammad is incapable of striking a false note. She immerses her heroine in volatile territory with the accuracy, compassion and coolness of a surgical knife sliding into a diseased body. The result is a stunning beauty — an eye-opening, uplifting novel that grants its vulnerable cast and their endeavors a rare and graceful dignity.”

The Parisian illuminates a pivotal period of Palestinian history through the journey and romances of one young man, from his studies in France during World War I to his return home to Palestine at the dawn of its battle for independence. “Written in soulful, searching prose,” The Guardian continues: “it’s a jam-packed epic that sets the life of one man against the backdrop of the fall of the Ottoman empire, the British mandate over Palestine and the Arab uprising for independence. Hammad wades through more than 20 years of political upheaval to explore ideas about cultural identity, parental betrayal and the accidental harm we often cause others.”

Hammad’s writing has appeared in Conjunctions and the Paris Review. She is a National Book Awards 5 under 35 Honoree.

Born in London, Hammad obtained her undergraduate degree in English Language and Literature from Oxford University. In 2020 she received a Lannan Literary Fellowship for Fiction, in 2012 she was awarded a Kennedy Scholarship to Harvard GSAS, and in 2013 she received the Harper Wood Creative Writing Studentship from Cambridge University. During her MFA in Fiction at New York University she was a Stein Fellow, and she was the 2016-2017 Axinn Foundation NYU Writer-in-Residence. Hammad resides in Brooklyn.

Short Bio

Isabella Hammad is the author of the critically acclaimed novel The Parisian, which won the 2019 Palestine Book Award, was a Best Book of 2019 at Vogue and Amazon, one of LitHub’s Ultimate Best Books of 2019, and one of the Observer’s ‘hotly tipped’ debuts of 2019; and Enter Ghost. Her story “Mr. Can’aan” won the 2019 O. Henry Prize and the 2018 Plimpton Prize for Fiction. Hammad’s writing has appeared in Conjunctions and the Paris Review. She is a National Book Awards 5 under 35 Honoree. Born in London, Hammad obtained her undergraduate degree in English Language and Literature from Oxford University. In 2012 she was awarded a Kennedy Scholarship to Harvard GSAS, and in 2013 she received the Harper Wood Creative Writing Studentship from Cambridge University. During her MFA in Fiction at New York University she was a Stein Fellow, and she was the 2016-2017 Axinn Foundation NYU Writer-in-Residence. Hammad resides in Brooklyn.

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