Selamlik by Khaled Alesmael
Pre-order Published 4th April 2024
An emotional and unflinching story about Arab masculinity and homoeroticism.
Furat, a Syrian in his early 20s, visits Sibki Park in Damascus, which serves as a gathering place for gay men from all over the city. He learns about the Hammams, secret meeting places for gays located throughout the old city. Inside these public baths, the air is thick with the scent of bay laurel soap, and naked men hide in the steam. Despite society, religion and regime disapproval, Furat finds the love he seeks just before being forced to flee as his world changes.
Later on, Furat wakes up in a cold sweat at an asylum in the Swedish forest recalling a terrifying dream in which he was blindfolded and bound. Having seen the horrific clips of what extremists do to gays circulating on the internet, he begins to write about his experience while locked in the toilet. This is the story of Furat's journey, along with that of other refugees, as they struggle against physical and economic challenges, migration laws, and deep-seated fears of loss, shame, and hatred. However, amid these difficulties also lie moments of passion and pleasure. Despite everything, Furat remains steadfast in his pursuit of love.
Khaled Alesmael is a writer and journalist from Syria, where he was co-founder of a major music radio station. Now based in London, his writings on sex, LGBTQ+, and migration--in both English and Arabic--have a dedicated international readership. Throughout his career, he has lived and worked in several capital cities in the Middle East and Europe and received the International Visitor Program to the US for his work as an environmental journalist. His debut novel Selamlik has been widely acclaimed and was shortlisted for the 2021 German SKOUTZ Award.
Leri Price is an award-winning literary translator of contemporary Arabic fiction. Price's translation of Khaled Khalifa's Death Is Hard Work was a finalist for the 2019 National Book Award for Translated Literature and winner of the 2020 Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation. Her translation of Planet of Clay by Samar Yazbek, also published by World Editions, was a Finalist for the 2021 National Book Award for Translated Literature. Price's other recent translations include Sarab by award-winning writer Raja Alem and Where the Wind Calls Home by influential Syrian writer Samar Yazbek.
Imprint: World Editions
Publication Date: 2nd April 2024