Book Festival, Discussion

Richmond Literature Festival: Nadifa Mohamed

14 November 2:30 pm


Trace the forces of conspiracy and prejudice in Nadifa Mohamed’s Booker Prize-shortlisted novel, at this eye-opening talk.

Join the author to hear how she wove powerful fiction from a hidden story of injustice.

The Fortune Men tells the story of Mahmood, who finds himself wrongfully charged for murder in 1950s Cardiff.

The only novel on the 2021 Booker Prize shortlist by a British author, it’s a sobering examination of prejudice, justice and the dispensability of truth.

Mahmood Mattan is a chancer and petty criminal living in Cardiff’s Tiger Bay in 1952. When a shopkeeper is brutally killed and all eyes fall on him, he is secure in his innocence.

Based on real events, Mohamed’s novel is panoramic in its scope and rich in period atmosphere, vividly tracing the desperate lives of the victim and the accused.

— Mail on Sunday



But in the run-up to the trial, it dawns on Mahmood that he is in a fight for his life. Under the shadow of the hangman’s noose, he begins to realise that the truth may not be enough to save him.

Nadifa Mohamed is the author of Black Mamba Boy and The Orchard of Lost Souls. She has received the Betty Trask Award and the Somerset Maugham Award, as well as numerous other prize nominations for her fiction.

The Fortune Men is a novel on fire, a restitution of justice in prose.

— The Financial Times



This event will be chaired by Professor Shahidha Bari

Shahidha Bari is an academic, critic and broadcaster. She studied English at Cambridge and Cornell and is a Professor at the University of the Arts London. She’s a presenter of BBC2’s arts programme, Inside Culture and BBC Radio 3’s nightly Free Thinking programme, also known as the Arts and Ideas podcast.  She’s the author of “Dressed: The Secret Life of Clothes” (2019), the winner of The Observer Anthony Burgess Arts Journalism Prize 2016 and has been a judge for the Forward Poetry Prizes and the Baillie Gifford Non-Fiction Prize. She writes for The Guardian, Times Literary Supplement and Frieze magazine.



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