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Talk by Hisham Matar, Libyan novelist

Hisham willl talk about his new memoir, 'The Return'.

In the winter of 2010, the Libyan novelist Hisham Matar went with his wife Diana and his brother Ziad to the House of Lords, where they sat in the gallery while Lord Lester, the human rights advocate, asked Her Majesty’s government whether it would seek information from the government of Libya as to the whereabouts of Matar’s father, Jaballa, who had then been missing for two decades.

Event details

This is the opening to The Guardian’s review of Hisham Matar’s memoir, titled The Return, The book describes his search for his father who was abducted in Egypt by Gaddafi and held in the Abu Salim prison in Tripoli. It was published in 2016 and was a finalist in this year’s Costa Book of the Year.

The review concludes, “Matar writes of the paralysing anger he felt as a younger man. But his book is bounded by a magnificent gentleness, a softness and care the reader experiences as a blessing. Where did it come from, this humanity, this wisdom? I think it comes from his father – not only in reality but in the idealised version of him that has been a natural corollary of his savage loss.”

Hisham is a Libyan novelist and essayist whose first novel, In The Country of Men, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2006. His second novel, Anatomy of a Disappearance, was published in 2011. His writing has also appeared in The Guardian, The Independent, The Times and The New York Times. He lives in London.


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