Isabella Hammad biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Isabella Hammad

Isabella Hammad

Isabella Hammad Biography

Isabella Hammad was born in London, and she obtained her undergraduate degree in English Language and Literature from Oxford University. In 2012 she was awarded a Kennedy Scholarship to Harvard GSAS, and in 2013 she received the Harper Wood Creative Writing Studentship from Cambridge University. During her MFA in Fiction at New York University she was a Stein Fellow, and she was the 2016-2017 Axinn Foundation NYU Writer-in-Residence.

In 2018 she won the Plimpton Prize for Fiction for her story "Mr. Can'aan." Her writing has appeared in Conjunctions and the Paris Review. The Parisian is her first novel.



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Interview

An Interview with Isabella Hammad, author of The Parisian, and how her own family history effected her writing.

I noticed that one of the families in Nablus in the novel shares your last name, Hammad. Is there a connection there to your personal history?

The Hammads in the novel are based on my grandmother's maternal family; my surname actually comes from the man she married, my grandfather, who was from a separate branch of the same family. The main character, Midhat Kamal, is based loosely on my great grandfather, and the basic frame of the novel is inspired by stories I was told about Midhat when I was a child. In writing about the fictional Midhat, the principal question in my mind was: how does a young man like this, from Nablus, end up becoming "The Parisian"? My answer was in part a love story, but also a story about selfhood, dislocation, and longing, not only for people but also for place.

After being sent away to study in France during WWI, Midhat returns to Nablus and earns the nickname "The Parisian." What role does his education play in his identity and evolution as a character?

Midhat's time in France at the beginning of the novel is formative not only as an experience of rupture and rejection, but also as an object of his nostalgia. His continued obsession with France, most specifically with French clothes, is an ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Isabella Hammad at BookBrowse
The Parisian jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Isabella Hammad but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
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  • Mushin Al-Ramli

    Mushin Al-Ramli

    Mushin Al-Ramli is an expatriate Iraqi poet, playwright, short story writer, novelist, and the translator of several classics of Spanish literature. He is also the cofounder and editor of Alwah, a magazine of Arabic ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Parisian

    Try:
    The President's Gardens
    by Mushin Al-Ramli

  • Rabih Alameddine

    Rabih Alameddine

    Rabih Alameddine is the author of the novels Koolaids, I, the Divine, The Hakawati, An Unnecessary Woman and most recently, The Angel of History; also, the story collection, The Perv. He divides his time between San Francisco... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Parisian

    Try:
    The Hakawati
    by Rabih Alameddine

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