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Drawn from her experiences of growing up as a young woman in the ‘world’s largest prison’—Gaza—Nayrouz Qarmout’s stories in The Sea Cloak (translated by Perween Richards) stitch together a stirring patchwork of perspectives exploring what it means to be a Palestinian today. Whether following the daily struggles of orphaned children fighting to survive in the rubble of recent bombardments, or mapping the complex tensions between political forces vying to control Palestinian lives, these stories offer a rare insight into one of the most talked about but least understood cities in the Middle East. Taken together, they afford us a local perspective on a global story, always rooted firmly in that most cherished of things, the home.
Perween Richards is a literary translator of Arabic-language stories. She attended translating classes at City summer school in London in 2016, and was one of the two winners of the school’s annual translation competition, sponsored by Comma Press. She was awarded an English PEN Translates grant to translate The Sea Cloak.