Well, checking my newsfeeds full of lit types this morning confirms I missed the following: an awkward affair with too many cuts to Margaret Atwood. Regardless, Omar El Akkad wins for What Strange Paradise, a book you can somehow purchase at Winners even though it isn’t to my knowledge remaindered like everything else at Winners, is the… well… Winner. Congrats to all nominated. Hopefully the eye of the world lingers on you for an extra few hours today before you take that consolation cheque to the bank to pay your back taxes from 2018.
What Strange Paradise is a novel that tells the story of a global refugee crisis through the eyes of a child. Nine-year-old Amir is the only survivor from a ship full of refugees coming to a small island nation. He ends up with a teenage girl named Vanna, who lives on the island. Even though they don’t share a common language or culture, Vanna becomes determined to keep Amir safe. What Strange Paradise tells both their stories and how they each reached this moment, while asking the questions, “How did we get here?” and “What are we going to do about it?”