Hanan al-Hashimi is a woman with secrets, even from herself. Forced into a loveless and barren marriage, she lives secluded by affluence. But when a spirited young girl from the Damascus slums enters her service, Hanan glimpses an enticing but forbidden world. No sooner are her awakening desires realised, however, than her life begins to unravel.
Cinnamon is the story of two women’s search for identity and fulfilment. Over the course of a long night, the stories of their very different but intertwining lives are played out in memories infused with the scent of cinnamon.
SAMAR YAZBEK is a Syrian writer and journalist, born in Jableh in 1970. She is the author of A Woman in the Crossfire: Diaries of the Syrian Revolution for which she won the PEN Pinter International Writer of Courage Prize in 2012 and the Tucholsky Prize from Swedish PEN. She is also the author of several works of fiction in Arabic. Cinnamon is her first novel to be translated into English. An outspoken critic of the Assad regime, Yazbek has been deeply involved in the Syrian revolution since it broke out in March 2011. Fearing for the life of her daughter, she was eventually forced to flee her country and now lives in hiding.
EMILY DANBY has worked as a literary translator of Arabic since her time studying the language in Oxford and Damascus. As part of the British Centre for Literary Translation’s mentorship scheme, she has worked in collaboration with Marilyn Booth. Emily takes particular interest in the writing of Levantine women in modern Syrian literature.