This is Video of the Week from Wales Arts Review. We’ll be showcasing some of the best art in Wales with a new video shared every week. From music to drama and everything in between, videos will not be limited by medium. Today’s video is an interview with Nadifa Mohamed, author of The Fortune Men.
Welcome back to video of the week! In light of Nadifa Mohamed’s The Fortune Men having been just announced as the winner of the Wales Book of the Year People’s Choice Award (sponsored by Wales Arts Review), this week we’re taking a look at an interview with Nadifa where she discusses The Fortune Men with John Freeman, Executive Editor at Alfred A. Knopf.
The Fortune Men was released in 2021 by Somali-British author Nadifa Mohamed, and explores the true story of Mahmood Mattan, a young Somali Sailor who was accused of a crime he did not commit in Cardiff in the ‘50s. The novel also explores the injustice of the legal system during the ‘50s and how racial discrimination formed the backbone of the case against an innocent man. The novel was also shortlisted for the 2021 Booker Prize, and has now gone on to win Wales Book of the Year People’s Choice Award.
Speaking on The Fortune Men in her review, Caragh Medlicott wrote:
“The Tiger Bay of the 1950s is an intimidating location for any author to establish. Its vastness and duplicity require more than mere exertion to be wrestled into submission – yet Mohamed, with the slightest cast of nostalgia, conjures it masterfully. It is her characteristically rich prose which draws out Tiger Bay’s grizzled, chiaroscuro beauty: “The splash of tyre on wet tarmac, the stink of sesame oil and broiling meat from Sam On Wen’s Chinese restaurant, the tinny clatter of calypso from a record player, the lean shadows hunkering near the bus stop.” It is a space of contrast, of colliding cultures; one where you may be greeted warmly by a friend or fearfully by a stranger.”
You can watch John Freeman’s interview with Nadifa Mohamed below.