Guest post by Peirene Press

On the 20th of June we will be marking Refugee Week with the launch of Shatila Stories, a novel written by nine refugees living in the Shatila camp in Beirut, Lebanon.  The launch will be held at Waterstones Gower St. and we would love you to join us!

You can book your launch tickets here:

“This remarkable novel isn’t about the refugee voice; it is born from it and told through it. On every page, the glint of hope for dignity and a better lif is heartbreakingly alive.” Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner

Shatila Stories can be ordered here:

Read below to find out more about our project!


Peirene Press is an award-winning boutique publishing house specializing in translated fiction. In 2015 we encountered a challenge.  There were books we wanted to see written – urgent, contemporary fiction – that we couldn’t find.  So we decided we needed to launch a new series, in which we would work closely with writers, and commission fiction on current political topics.  This project is Peirene Now!

Last Summer our publisher Meike Ziervogel and Syrian editor, Suhir Helal, travelled to the Shatila camp to run a creative writing workshop with Syrian and Palestinian refugee writers.  Six women and three men took part in the project, together they have produced a spellbinding work of fiction called Shatila Stories

One writer, 19-year-old Omar Ahmad, arrived in Shatila from Syria three years ago.  He has not been able to complete his education in Lebanon as his school certificates went missing when he fled the war.  But he was still compelled by the urge to write.

“I’ve needed this opportunity for such a long time, I had a lot of thoughts to write down but I didn’t know how to direct or express them.  Through the creative writing workshop, I’ve learnt how to organise my thoughts and I’m so happy to write the story,” he said.


“From my experience [with the workshop] I learnt to live with my characters, to see them through my own eyes.  I feel that through my characters I’m present in the story.’ said 31-year-old Safiya Badran, a Syrian refugee and author.

Shatila Stories follows the story of Adam, a boy who flees Syria with his family and arrives in the Shatila refugee camp in Beirut.  Conditions in the overcrowded Palestinian camp are tough, and violence defines many of the relationships: a father fights to save his daughter, a gang leader plots to expand his influence, and drugs break up a family.  Adam struggles to make sense of his refugee experience, but then he meets Shatha and starts to view the camp through her eyes.

All the profits made from the sale of Shatila Stories will go to Basmeh & Zeitooneh, a Lebanese NGO that collaborated on the project with us, to support refugees in nine camps.

Shatila Stories can be ordered here:

We hope that this book will make a difference beyond the last page.  We can’t wait to celebrate the launch and hope to see you there!