Layla AlAmmar

Joining us today from the UK (hence the weekend starting time) where she is pursuing doctoral work on ‘the intersection of Arab women’s fiction and literary trauma theory’ is Kuwait-born novelist Layla AlAmmar. She has written two novels, both to much acclaim, the second of which has become her first to be published in the U.S., Silence is a Sense (Algonquin). A woman has fled her homeland of Syria because of the civil war there, coming to the UK - and trying there to reckon what it has all meant, even if words aren’t there for saying it.

Silence Is a Sense is a fierce novel. The prose is ferocious, the pace is ferocious and the beguiling central character, known as The Voiceless, conceals behind her inability—or reluctance — to speak, a striking, visceral intensity. She obsessively watches the people around her to silence her own trauma, but every now and then it can’t help but break through. Layla AlAmmar has skillfully woven a narrative of memory and grief with an illuminating social critique of the position of asylum seekers within contemporary British society. It is daring and devastating." —Fiona Mozley.

“Kuwaiti-American author Layla AlAmmar masterfully depicts that silence is a refuge, too, for people affected by the unspeakable . . . AlAmmar succeeds in challenging the refugee or asylum-seeker stereotype, including the one of a young Arab woman.”—The Markaz Review.


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Silence Is a Sense Cover Image
ISBN: 9781643750262
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Algonquin Books - March 16th, 2021

Saturday, March 20, 2021 - 2:00pm
Virtually Hosted by Elliott Bay Book Company
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