Fatin Abbas at Harvard Book Store


Ghost Season:
A Novel

in conversation with NOVUYO ROSA TSHUMA


February 14, 2023
7:00 PM ET


Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138


This event is free; no tickets are required.

Harvard Book Store welcomes FATIN ABBAS—award-winning fiction writer and Harvard University graduate—for a discussion of her debut novel Ghost Season. She will be joined in conversation by NOVUYO ROSA TSHUMA—award-winning author of House of Stone.

A Return to In-Person Events

Harvard Book Store is excited to be back to in-person programming. To ensure the safety and comfort of everyone in attendance, the following Covid-19 safety protocols will be in place at all of our Harvard Book Store events until further notice:

  • Face coverings are required of all staff and attendees when inside the store. Masks must snugly cover nose and mouth.

About Ghost Season

A mysterious burnt corpse appears one morning in Saraaya, a remote border town between northern and southern Sudan. For five strangers on an NGO compound, the discovery foreshadows trouble to come. South Sudanese translator William connects the corpse to the sudden disappearance of cook Layla, a northern nomad with whom he’s fallen in love. Meanwhile, Sudanese American filmmaker Dena struggles to connect to her unfamiliar homeland, and white midwestern aid worker Alex finds his plans thwarted by a changing climate and looming civil war. Dancing between the adults is Mustafa, a clever, endearing twelve-year-old, whose schemes to rise out of poverty set off cataclysmic events on the compound.

Amid the paradoxes of identity, art, humanitarian aid, and a territory riven by conflict, William, Layla, Dena, Alex, and Mustafa must forge bonds stronger than blood or identity. Weaving a sweeping history of the breakup of Sudan into the lives of these captivating characters, Fatin Abbas explores the porous and perilous nature of borders―whether they be national, ethnic, or religious―and the profound consequences for those who cross them. Ghost Season is a gripping, vivid debut that announces Abbas as a powerful new voice in fiction.

Praise for Ghost Season

"Ghost Season travels that narrow road between austere and gut-wrenching, and does it with incomparable grace. From the first words of this gorgeous novel to the last, Fatin Abbas holds us spellbound, immersed in the lives and the world that unfold in its pages. Beyond the debris of war and displacement, she reminds us, rests something else that can never be truly extinguished: hope." ―Maaza Mengiste, Booker Prize–shortlisted author of The Shadow King

"Immersive and astonishing, Ghost Season brings alive with brilliant specificity the Sudanese border town of Saraaya, and an unforgettable cast of characters linked by circumstance and fate. Fatin Abbas is a remarkable writer, and this novel an extraordinary debut." ―Claire Messud, New York Times best-selling author of The Burning Girl

"A triumph of storytelling: richly imagined, finely wrought and filled with such vivid, wondrous characters. I finished this book and immediately wanted to read it again. Abbas is a writer of prodigious powers." ―Novuyo Rosa Tshuma, author of House of Stone

Fatin Abbas
Fatin Abbas

Fatin Abbas

Born in Khartoum, Sudan and raised in New York, Fatin Abbas received her PhD in Comparative Literature from Harvard University, and her MFA in Creative Writing from Hunter College, where she was awarded the Bernard Cohen Short Story Prize and the Miriam Weinberg Richter Award. Her short fiction has appeared in Granta, Freeman’s, and The Nation, among others.

Photo Credit: Marie Constantinesco

Novuyo Rosa Tshuma
Novuyo Rosa Tshuma

Novuyo Rosa Tshuma

Novuyo Rosa Tshuma is the author of the award-winning novel House of Stone and a professor of fiction at Emerson College. A native of Zimbabwe, she lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

Photo credit: Cynthia Ayeza

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes

As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.

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