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Mazen Maarouf and Dina Nayeri talk to Oliver Bullough

Literature Across Frontiers: We Are Here

Hay Festival 2019 , 

Maarouf is an award-winning Palestinian-Icelandic writer and journalist whose short story collections are Jokes for the Gunmen and The Rats that Lick a Karate Champion’s Ears. Aged eight, Nayeri fled Iran along with her mother and brother, and lived in the crumbling shell of an Italian hotel-turned-refugee-camp. Eventually she was granted asylum in America. Now Nayeri weaves together her own vivid story with those of other asylum seekers in recent years, bringing us inside their daily lives and taking us through the stages of their journeys, from escape to asylum to resettlement, in her book The Ungrateful Refugee.