Silence is My Mother Tongue

Silence is My Mother Tongue

Sulaiman Addonia


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Sulaiman Addonia’s Orwell Prize for Fiction longlisted second novel of love, judgment and sacrifice

In a time of war, what is the shape of love?

Saba arrives in an East African refugee camp as a young girl, devastated to have been wrenched from school and forced to abandon her books as her family flees to safety. In this unfamiliar, crowded and often hostile space, she must carve out a new existence. As she struggles to maintain her sense of self, she remains fiercely protective of her mute brother, Hagos — each sibling resisting the roles gender and society assign.

Through a cast of complex, beautifully drawn characters, Sulaiman 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 or a future.

'Gripping and courageous . . . A feminist book, and, exhilaratingly, so much more' Guardian

'Stunning. At once sensuous and provocative . . . a splendid, compulsive reading experience' Maaza Mengiste, author of The Shadow King

'Makes sensual, evocative poetry of the deepest, fiercest emotions' The Big Issue




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