Tuesday 25 May, 7.30pm
Award-winning author Nadifa Mohamed will be in conversation about her beautifully gripping new novel The Fortune Men with BBC World Service presenter Razia Iqbal.
The story of a murder, a British miscarriage of justice, and a man too innocent for his times
Mahmood Mattan is a fixture in Cardiff’s Tiger Bay, 1952, which bustles with Somali and West Indian sailors, Maltese businessmen and Jewish families. He is a father, chancer, petty criminal. He is a smooth-talker with rakish charm and an eye for a good game. He is many things, but he is not a murderer.
So when a shopkeeper is brutally killed and all eyes fall on him, Mahmood isn’t too worried. Since his Welsh wife Laura kicked him out for racking up debts he has wandered the streets more often, and there are witnesses who allegedly saw him enter the shop that night. But Mahmood has escaped worse scrapes, and he is innocent in this country where justice is served. Love lends him immunity too: the fierce love of Laura, who forgives his gambling in a heartbeat, and his children. It is only in the run-up to the trial, as the prospect of returning home dwindles, that it will dawn on Mahmood that he is in a fight for his life – against conspiracy, prejudice and cruelty – and that the truth may not be enough to save him.
As brilliantly written as it is devastating, The Fortune Men brings to life forgotten and recent Black British history in a confronting and vital way.
’A writer of great humanity and intelligence. Nadifa Mohammad deeply understands how lives are shaped both by the grand sweep of history and the intimate encounters of human beings.’ Kamila Shamsie
‘Nadifa Mohamed just gets better and better. Long regarded as one of our most promising young novelists, she has fully arrived with The Fortune Men. Chilling and utterly compelling, it shines an essential light on a much-neglected period of our national life.’ Sathnam Sanghera
‘The Fortune Men is that rare novel that breaks your heart and, in so doing, gives you life. Nadifa Mohamed is a revelation – she writes with the fierce compassionate lightning of a truth-teller, lays bare the ghastly colonial condition that afflicts so many of us, where truth cannot overcome injustice. If a novel can be an avenger then The Fortune Men is the one we’ve all been waiting for.’ Junot Diaz
Presented in partnership with Village Books, Chorleywood Bookshop and the Royal Society of Literature.
Ticket price includes a copy of The Fortune Men (RRP £14.99), which is due to be published on 27 May.
Attendees will be emailed the Zoom password and access link no later than the morning of the event.
There is also a Ticket Only Option.