Born in Scotland in 1970, after a life split between Europe and the Middle East, Selma Dabbagh settled in London, where she combines her activity as a human rights lawyer and her support for movements of solidarity with the Palestinians with her work as a writer. Her short stories have appeared in several collections, one of them has been adapted for radio by the BBC, and her novel Out of It, now published in Italian as Fuori da Gaza, in the Altriarabi series by Il Sirente (translation by Barbara Benini, 184 pages, €15), was named Book of the Year by The Guardian in 2012.
“I had no need to draw inspiration from my own family history to give life to the Mujahed family, the protagonists of the novel, because there are painful experiences, such as exile, that belong to all Palestinian families,” she told il manifesto.
“My grandfather came from Jaffa, ended up in prison several times and was in danger of being assassinated because of his political involvements. He decided to leave after 1948, when my father was hit by a grenade thrown by a member of a Jewish paramilitary group. They first ended up in Syria, then in Kuwait, and finally in the U.K., where my father met my mother, who is British. But Palestine never left our home: We have always taken part in demonstrations, have been members of NGOs, and in my extended family there were also some who were members of the PLO.”