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Adania Shibli talks to Hisham Matar

Minor Detail

Hay Festival 2024, 

Palestinian writer Adania Shibli discusses her novel Minor Detail with American-Libyan writer Hisham Matar. A story about a young woman raped in the mist of the Palestian/Israeli conflict of 1949, the book was longlisted for the 2021 International Booker Prize and shortlisted for the 2020 National Book Award for Translated Literature.

Minor Detail begins during the summer of 1949, one year after the war that the Palestinians mourn as the Nakba – the catastrophe that led to the displacement and expulsion of more than 700,000 people – and the Israelis celebrate as the War of Independence. Israeli soldiers capture and rape a young Palestinian woman, and kill and bury her in the sand. Many years later, a woman in Ramallah becomes fascinated to the point of obsession with this ‘minor detail’ of history. A haunting meditation on war, violence and memory, Minor Detail cuts to the heart of the Palestinian experience of dispossession, life under occupation, and the persistent difficulty of piecing together a narrative in the face of ongoing erasure and disempowerment.

Adania Shibli talks to Hisham Matar