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

“Isabella Hammad is a master of subtle nuance in dealing with both Arab and Jewish society.” —The New York Times

“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 debut novel The Parisian which won the 2019 Palestine Book Award. It 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. Isabella Hammad is a master of subtle nuance in dealing with both Arab and Jewish society, writes The New York Times.

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 debut novel The Parisian, which won the 2019 Palestine Book Award. It 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. 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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