Virtual Event: Nadifa Mohamed
The Fortune Men:
in conversation with DINAW MENGESTU
January 24, 2022
7:00 PM ET
Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.
Free - $5 contribution suggested at registration
Harvard Book Store's virtual event series welcomes NADIFA MOHAMED—celebrated author of Black Mamba Boy and The Orchard of Lost Souls—for a discussion of her latest, Booker Prize shortlisted novel, The Fortune Men. She will be joined in conversation by award-winning writer DINAW MENGESTU.
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While payment is not required, we are suggesting a $5 contribution to support this author series, our staff, and the future of Harvard Book Store—a locally owned, independently run Cambridge institution. In addition, by purchasing a copy of The Fortune Men on harvard.com, you support indie bookselling and the writing community during this difficult time.
About The Fortune Men
In Cardiff, Wales in 1952, Mahmood Mattan, a young Somali sailor, is accused of a crime he did not commit: the brutal killing of Violet Volacki, a shopkeeper from Tiger Bay. At first, Mahmood believes he can ignore the fingers pointing his way; he may be a gambler and a petty thief, but he is no murderer. He is a father of three, secure in his innocence and his belief in British justice.
But as the trial draws closer, his prospect for freedom dwindles. Now, Mahmood must stage a terrifying fight for his life, with all the chips stacked against him: a shoddy investigation, an inhumane legal system, and, most evidently, pervasive and deep-rooted racism at every step.
Under the shadow of the hangman's noose, Mahmood begins to realize that even the truth may not be enough to save him. A haunting tale of miscarried justice, this book offers a chilling look at the dark corners of our humanity.
Praise for The Fortune Men
“Nadifa Mohamed’s The Fortune Men is a blues song cut straight from the heart. It tells about the unjust death of an innocent Black man caught up in a corrupt system. Nadifa’s masterful evocation of the full life of Mahmood Mattan, the last man executed in Cardiff for a crime he was exonerated for forty years later, is brought alive with subtle artistry and heartbreaking humanity.” —Walter Mosley, author of Devil in a Blue Dress
“A potent, pointed novel . . . Mohamed is a big talent, and she’s only getting started.” —Dwight Garner, New York Times
“Equally informative and moving . . . The immediate allure of the novel is the vibrancy of Mohamed’s prose, her ability to capture the complicated culture of Cardiff and the sound of tortured optimism. . . . The horrific finale of The Fortune Men is never in doubt, but for more than 200 pages Mohamed still creates a sharp sense of suspense by pulling us right into Mahmood’s world as his life tilts and then crashes. . . . There’s a natural grandeur to her portrayal of this ordinary man caught in the city’s gears. Readers will hear echoes of Dostoevsky and Kafka in her re-creation of this nightmare. . . . With The Fortune Men, Mohamed has given us a clear vision of so many victims caught in the maw of racist legal systems.” —Ron Charles, The Washington Post
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